Inside the Pakistani village torn apart by child sex abuse scandal

Hussain Khan Wala, Pakistan (CNN) – An hour’s drive away from the crowds and chaos of the Pakistani city of Lahore lies the sleepy village of Hussain Khan Wala.

Thick bamboo lines the road leading into this small hamlet; it is the monsoon season and the fields running beside the road are richly packed with a harvest of corn and wheat.

Picturesque and more prosperous — relatively speaking — than most areas of Punjab province, Hussain Khan Wala is at the center of a child abuse scandal that has rocked the country.

Villagers accuse police officials of covering up a pedophile ring, after videos emerged of their children being molested by members of a prominent and influential local family.

They say the abuse had been going on since at least 2009, and that the children were blackmailed to steal from their homes to prevent the videos from going public.

“My child stopped going to school; whenever they saw him, they took him into the fields, in the house,” the 35-year-old mother of one victim told CNN. “They raped him for five hours and now it’s finally coming into the open.”

“They’re savages. I saw my own child in these videos and my heart sank. I ran to the police but there was no help. Everyone in the village knew what was happening but was too scared to say anything.”

A perceived lack of assistance by the police has become one of the major grievances that villagers have with the way the situation has been handled.

“We went to the police and they did nothing,” sobbed the 28-year-old mother of another victim. “They said all our cases were the same, to bring something new for them.”

Lawyer and children’s rights activist Latif Sera says more than 270 children were victims of the pedophile ring, whose members abused children in the fields and in their homestead, outside which, the words “No Entry” are painted in Urdu.

Sera said it was here that the children were drugged, abused and hung upside down naked from ropes.