Indian, Sikh and Pakistani communities in Hong Kong have joined forces to call on the government to step up educational and cultural initiatives to protect ethnic minority children from sexual harassment and abuse.
Community leaders called for action on Thursday after the arrest of a man in charge of an ethnic minority concern group. He was charged with molesting two minors and possessing child pornography.
Speaking at a press conference, representatives from the Pakistan Association of Hong Kong, Khalsa Diwan (Sikh Temple) Hong Kong, and the Racial Integration Education and Welfare Association, said measures were needed to tackle structural and cultural issues that contributed to the lack of awareness of sexual harassment issues.
“Many ethnic minority children trust strangers quite easily and are very enthusiastic towards them,” said Jimmy Singh Baljinder, a fifth-generation Indian and Sikh resident in the city, as well as co-founder of the Racial Integration Education and Welfare Association, an NGO.
“Often they don’t know what is right or wrong when it comes to sexual harassment, and won’t necessarily tell their parents if they are abused.
“Sometimes ethnic minority children won’t even tell their parents about a bike accident, let alone sexual harassment, because they fear parents will blame them for what happened, or it might tarnish the family name in the community,” he added.
The groups proposed a raft of actions, including improving sex education particularly in minority faith schools run by the Education Bureau, and closer cooperation with the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission on Children to raise awareness among ethnic minority parents.
Rizwan Ullah, joint secretary of the Pakistan Association of Hong Kong, suggested that stronger vetting and administrative processes could be used in background checks of service providers that support ethnic minority groups.
Ferrick Chu, the Equal Opportunities Commission’s acting chief operations officer, said the watchdog would produce sexual harassment leaflets and promotional materials in minority languages too, not just in Chinese and English.
Chu also said better sex education in schools was key to protecting ethnic minority children from harm.
“Right now many people think sexual harassment means rape or serious physical abuse when in fact, unwanted sexual speech or touching count. Better sex education is needed to raise awareness among children.”
This article Indian, Sikh and Pakistani communities join forces in urging Hong Kong government to step up measures against sex abuse of ethnic minority children first appeared on South China Morning Post