Two suspects arrested from a northern island in connection with the rape of a 16-year-old girl are the victim’s mother and uncle, local media reports.
Ismail Ali, the police spokesperson, told The Maldives Independent that a 51-year-old-man was arrested on July 6 for “sexually assaulting an underage girl while in a position of responsibility.”
Four days later, a 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the rape. Both suspects were arrested on the island of Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaal atoll.
The victim was raped multiple times, the spokesman said.
According to local media, the girl’s mother repeatedly facilitated the abuse. The alleged rapist was her uncle who lived in Malé and visited the island regularly.
The community news website Kulhudhuffushi.com reported that the man stayed at the woman’s home and offered her money and other incentives.
The Kulhudhufushi magistrate court remanded both suspects in police custody for 15 days.
They are likely to face charges under the 2009 law on child sex offenders, which provided special provisions to deal with offenders, including the withholding of the rights to remain silent and reprieve from detention during the investigation period.
The law prescribes jail terms up to 25 years.
In June 2013, multiple sources told The Maldives Independent (formerly Minivan News) that child prostitution was prevalent in the country, ranging from male benefactors grooming children with “gifts” to parents actively exploiting their children.
In July last year, some 11 men were arrested on the island of Fuvahmulah on suspicion of drugging, blackmailing, and forcing children into prostitution.
According to a 2009 study by UNICEF, almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives had been sexually abused at some point in their lives.