Police have today arrested a 17 year old boy in Fuvahmulah child prostitution ring uncovered last week, police media has revealed.
All other suspects are aged 20-55 years, from Fuvahmulah and other islands. Currently 14 men and a woman have been arrested.
Two girls of ages 16 and 14 were tricked into using drugs and filmed naked, CNM reported. The men threatened to leak the videos and blackmailed the minors.
Sources from Fuvahmulah meanwhile told newspaper Haveeru that the girls gave police a list of 50 suspects.
Ten suspects were taken into custody on Friday. The Fuvahmulah magistrate court granted 15-day extensions of remand detention the following day
The police began investigating the case on July 5 based on intelligence information, Superintendent Hamdhoon Rasheed told the media on Sunday.
A special team from the Police family and child protection unit is currently working at Fuvamulah, with the island’s police station.
In February 2014, seven men were arrested from the island of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaalu atoll on suspicion of forcing a 16-year-old girl into child prostitution.
In the first official acknowledgement of child prostitution in the Maldives, then-Gender Minister Azima Shukoor revealed in May 2013 that children were “being used as sex workers, where the children are sent to places as a means to pleasure people and to gain an income from such a trade.”
In June 2013, multiple sources told Minivan News that child prostitution was prevalent in the country, ranging from male benefactors grooming children with ‘gifts’ to parents actively exploiting their children.
Almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives have been sexually abused at some time in their lives, according to an unpublished 2009 study on violence against minors.
The rate of sexual abuse for boys was at 11 percent while the figure for girls were almost twice as high at 20 percent.