Child sexual abuse getting "serious' in Vietnam metro

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Child sexual abuse has reached "alarming" levels in Ho Chi Minh City with 720 cases reported in the past eight years, VnExpress quoted an expert as saying Wednesday.

Luong Thi Toi, chief of the  Department of Labors, War Invalids and Social Affairs's Child Care and Protection Office, was speaking at a seminar on preventing child sexual abuse organized by her department and the city People's Council.

The victims are mostly between 13 and under 16 years old, Dinh Nguyen Thien Kim, deputy director of HCMC Autopsy Center, said.

She said girls in that age group usually hang out with their boyfriends and are easily tempted into sexual relationships, most likely during holidays like Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Tet (Lunar New Year).

A main reason for this is that their parents do not give them enough care and education, she added.

Le Ngoc Phuong, chief of the city police's criminal investigation division, agreed, saying that parents only care about earning a living and ignore their children, while some people make use of children's lack of knowledge to tempt or coerce them into having sex.

Related agencies plan to take measures to combat child sexual abuse, like instructing children how to react when they are assaulted, he said.

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Kim called on parents to exercise better control over their children, including by not letting them stay alone at home.

City authorities promised to have a child-protection system in place and enhance awareness among adults, VnExpress reported.

The police pledged to crack down on child abuse, including by tightening control over businesses like hotels and Internet shops where they said these crimes frequently take place.

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