A Bangladeshi worker was arrested on Saturday night on suspicion of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl on the island of Nilandhoo in Faafu atoll.
The case was reported to the police around 11:45pm and the 23-year-old suspect was taken into custody around 2:30am. He was hiding under a machine used to mix cement at a construction site in an uninhabited area of the island.
On August 2, the Nilandhoo magistrate court ordered the police to hold the suspect in remand detention for 15 days.
A 57-year-old Maldivian man was meanwhile arrested in Fuvahmulah yesterday on suspicion of sexually abusing his 11-year-old daughter, according to Haveeru.
In early July, 14 men and one woman were arrested in Fuvahmulah on suspicion of forcing a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl into prostitution.
In the wake of the arrests, local NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) expressed concern with the “hidden epidemic of child abuse that continues unabated in the country”.
A total of 339 cases of child abuse were reported from January to June this year, ARC noted in a press release, which represented a significant increase compared to the previous year. A total of 423 cases were reported in 2014.
ARC noted that many cases of child abuse go unreported every year.