UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday denounced the reported sexual abuse of a large number of children in Kasur as "appalling", and said it was in contact with the Pakistani government to "understand the full dimension of this crime."

"It is vital that the children and families affected are immediately offered the necessary care and protection that will prevent further victimisation and allow the difficult process of healing to begin," Philippe Cori, UNICEF Regional Deputy-Director for South Asia, said in a statement, which called for bringing those responsible for this crime to justice.

“No child should suffer violence, abuse or exploitation. The horrific crimes in Kasur underline how we must all do more to protect children from such abuses," he said, while sympathizing with the victims.

“UNICEF is working closely with the authorities in Pakistan to prevent and respond to such issues affecting children, including sexual violence and abuse. We welcome efforts in Pakistan to tackle the issue of child abuse – including Pakistan signing, along with many other countries, the ‘We Protect' statement of action to end on-line child sexual exploitation.

“UNICEF is ready to expand its work with local and national authorities to increase such efforts, so that no child has to suffer these terrible horrors," the statement added.

“We hope also that every effort will be made by the Government of Pakistan to bring to justice those responsible for these terrible abuses.”