Abduction of and Sexual Contact with Minor - - A Criminal Offense by Savitri Lall
Guyana Mirror
May 28-9, 2004

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A well-known city businessman who is allegedly accused of abduction and carnal knowledge of a 13-year-old girl was ordered by the High Court after the girl’s mother and maternal aunt filed an habeas corpus restraining him from having any contact with her (the teenager).

Reaz Khan, Managing Director of Reaz Trading Enterprises Ltd, the alleged accused of sexual molestation and abduction of a 13-year-old child is known to be a regular donor of foodstuff to the mosque situated in the area where the child’s mother lives. There (the mosque), Khan met the woman and offered to help her daughter to participate in a ‘work-study’ exercise at his business premises in Camp Street during the Easter vacation. The mother accepted the favour and sent her daughter to do the ‘work-study’ exercise. But to her dismay her child did not return home the said day. After several futile attempts to contact the businessman, she was finally told that her daughter is in his charge. She pleaded with the man to release her daughter, but he refused, saying he has no intention of doing so.

The teenager’s mother in a desperate bid to have her child back sought help from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security. The child was sent to the Women’s Institute at Cove & John, East Coast Demerara where she was abducted again by Khan. However, Khan was ordered by his attorneys to hand over the teenager into the joint custody of her mother and aunt and refrain from seeing her but instead, he abducted her from her aunt’s home.

Khan’s maid went to the home of the teenager’s aunt to deliver food to her but her mother refused to accept the food. The vehicle that the maid traveled in had the license plate number PJJ 1000 which was quickly identified by her mother and brother as that of Khan’s.

The same vehicle came by the home of the teenager’s aunt and the driver supposedly being Khan, took away the girl with him late in the night. After contacting the police who couldn’t locate the girl and Khan, her mother received a call from one of Khan’s attorneys to collect her daughter from Prashad’s Hospital. The alleged accused refused to hand over the girl and her mother was subjected to verbal abuse while her son was physically assaulted.

Khan then took her to Woodlands Hospital where they also refused to admit her. Each time he moved with the teenager, the mother went after him to get her daughter. Eventually he released the 13-year-old to her mother who is still fearful that her daughter might be taken away from her again. The teenager confessed to the police of being sexually involved with Khan. A medical examination done at the Public Hospital Corporation also confirmed that she was sexually active. Reaz Khan, the so called “Good Samaritan”, had no intention of helping the teenager to obtain knowledge and skill from a ‘work study’ exercise he offered her at his business place. From all indications reported in the newspaper, anyone who read the story could conclude that he wanted to satisfy his sexual prowess. He actually coerced the teenager and her mother into believing that he’s a good and honest person, but instead, the man proved to be wicked and despicable.

Why wasn’t this businessman not charged when he first appeared in Court to answer charges of sexual molestation and abduction of a minor? This is where the legal system in Guyana is deficient. The age of consent is twelve years. This is absolutely ridiculous! The law concerning this issue must be reviewed now and changed to probably 16 or 18 years. In other countries the age of consent is 16. Women and men need to agitate vigorously to have the age of consent changed now in the interests of their girl children’s protection and welfare. The legal system is to be partially blamed for being too lenient with persons who commit serious crimes and for not changing the laws in years. There is so much talk from every sphere in Guyana about the rights of the child. What about their protection from the scourges of society? Girl children are the most vulnerable to rape and other forms of abuse. That’s why it’s very important for mothers, guardians, parents, teachers, etc to be ever vigilant in protecting children especially girls, from all social ills.

By the way, why are all the women’s organisations, the newly formed Men of Purpose (MoP), churches and all civic-minded people silent on this alarming issue? Come on people, wake up from your slumber and speak out against the misdemeanours committed against children.

Let’s hope that this case involving carnal knowledge and abduction of a minor will not be swept under the carpet. The perpetrator must be dealt with accordingly and allow justice to prevail.