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The New York Times is reporting that Islamic State radicals are using contraception to ensure enslaved women do not become pregnant and can be passed among its fighters as sex slaves.

The report released on March 12 adds to other mounting evidence of organized, wide-scale sexual crimes being committed by the extremist group as it tries to organize a religious state in captured territories in Syria and Iraq.

The newspaper interviewed more than three dozen Yazidi women who escaped from the militant group.

The paper cited a gynecologist who examined the women and found only a small percentage had become pregnant during their enslavement.

Thousands of Yazidis were captured by Islamic State militants when they overran northern Iraq; the group considers Yazidis to be devil-worshippers.

The United Nations and human rights groups have accused the Islamic State of the systematic abduction and rape of thousands of women and girls as young as 12.

Many have been given to fighters as a reward or sold as sex slaves.

Based on reporting by The New York Times and Reuters

Pakistan's Senate passed a bill that for the first time criminalizes sexual assault against minors, child trafficking and pornography.

The amendment to the penal code, which will go into force after being ratified by the president, also raises the age of criminal responsibility from seven to 10 years old.

Under the legislation, sexual assaults will now be punishable by up to seven years in prison. Previously, only rape was illegal.

Also, child pornography, which was previously not mentioned in the law, will be punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of 700,000 rupees ($7000).

Pakistan in August was hit by a major pedophilia scandal when hundreds of pornographic videos of children from the village of Hussain Khanwala in Punjab province were found in circulation.

About 20 arrests were made. But at the time, only the acts of rape and sodomy were illegal.

The new amendment also criminalizes child trafficking within Pakistan. Previously traffickers were only liable for punishment if they removed children from the country.

"This is a very important step to realize the obligations of Pakistan" under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Sara Coleman, UNICEF's child protection chief, told AFP.

Based on reporting by AFP and Channel 24 Pakistan

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