Zambian police say that 400 cases of child rape were reported in the first half of 2003 - a 68% increase on the previous year.
Child rape has helped spread Aids
In Zambia, and several other southern African countries, some men say they rape children in the belief that having sex with a virgin can cure Aids.
Some 20% of Zambians are HIV positive.
This has prompted a group of MPs and women rights activists to call for child rapists to be castrated.
This debate is now closed.
Here is a selection of the comments you sent.
It would act as a deterrent and would help to protect children. The rapists have violated the human rights of the children therefore they shouldn't have any either.
Tim Metcalfe, UK
Castration is not the answer. you need information and education.
sue whitebread, england
As much as child rape is not right. Society should not be allowed to be controlled by emotions. The law should simply take its course, the should be sent to prison to give them time to reflect on the evil the have done. That is more painful than removing a body part.
A Mbalose, Zambia
It could be considered barbaric, but something has to be done to stop the rape and abuse of innocent children. I personally support the idea, and although it would never get any sort of serious consideration - It should become law here too..!
Anon UK, UK
Great idea if the justice system was infalliable, but it is not and since you cannot uncastrate someone then this should not become law. Pity because l imagine if the price of rape was castration there would be very few rapes.
Allan Mackenzie, Scotland
Indeed, castration will be a deterrent to would-be rapists. But the fact that girls so young are being raped to "cure AIDS" means that there is a fundamental lack of communication to the public on how AIDS can NOT be cured. After they stop raping girls, they will turn to something else to "cure" themselves. Education before castration.
Sudhir Devalia, Lusaka, Zambia
People are thinking with their hearts on this issue, not their heads. Rape is an issue of power, not sex, although in this case it is based on other factors, such as local beliefs around AIDS.
Darcy Perkins, CANADA
As pointed out, justice systems are rarely perfect, therefore perhaps in addition to jail time, the rapist should have one testicle removed for a first offense. Of course, a second conviction would result in the removal of the second testicle.
Richard Bamberg, USA
Whilst child rape is totally abhorrent and should in no way be condoned surely better education about the causes of HIV / AIDS is whats needed here. To educate these men that the practice they carry out will not result in their "cure" from AIDS should be a priority. Chemical castration is one answer but education is a better one.
M Dickson, UK
I fully back the idea of castrating these child rapists. That's the minimum punishment they should get. Considering the consequences of their crimes or the end results eg,HIV infection of the minor and innocent, am convinced that this sentence will be alright.
Stanley Tapera, Zimbabwe
The purpose of the crime is not sexual and for this reason the mutilation of sexual organs would not prevent further rapes.
Child rape is a heinous crime. Its perpetrators should be meted out the harshest possible punishment. But merely castrating the child rapists would not solve the problem.Infact a law can never be too foolprof to not have any loopholes. And unlike other punishment, it is irreversible. One shudders at the thought of an innocent being castrated. I believe that the punishment won't be an effective detterent as people are captive to their beliefs and superstitions. A better idea would be to spread awareness about AIDS. Meanwhile the culprits can be given a lifelong nonbailable sentence.
Hemant Kumar, India
If castration should be the penalty for rape, than the penalty for murder should be death. The penalty for stealing should be to have a hand amputated and the penalty for adultery should be stoning. Thus, castration is not the answer. In Western society rape is the one crime that makes everyone boiling mad. But this is no excuse.
Joseph Levin, USA
Yes I do agree, child rapist should be castrated. I`m a man and i want men to respect themselves below the belt.
Mukupa Mulombwa, USA
If as you report states the possible cause for this increase is due to a belief that it will cure aids.. then surely the solution is to educate the general populace that this is false.
I do believe in a heavy custodial sentence for this act however castration will not really achieve anything... in much the same way the death sentence has not reduced the incidence of murder in the usa..
Paul Donegan, UK
Speaking as someone who has spent much time working in Zambian shanty townships, I would say castration would certainly be an effective deterrent in a society where rape is viewed as not that serious by many men. When you consider that child rape in an HIV rife country like Zambia is not just a violation of the child, but very likely a sentence to a slow, painful death castration does not seem so severe a punishment.
they should be castrated so that they don't repeat the same. This will also discourage others not to do it
I think that yes, child rapists should be castrated as this would reduce their sexual drives, and would have a symbolic effect on anyone else who would try the same thing. The same logic follows for gun crime, in that if someone has a gun and uses it irresponsibly, then it should be taken away from them. These child rapists are obviously deranged and irresponsible, otherwise how would they be able to get a hard-on over a child?
Hugh Probyn, Canada
It's is a big crime to have sex with children with pretex of avoiding Aids; similarly it is a crime to castrate someone. These are both human right abuses .
Emmanuel Gonda, Canada/Sudan
Any fool that believes they can be cured of AIDS by raping a child needs that sort of deterrence. I'm sure it will save innocent lives.
I believe the child rapist, who has AIDS, should be executed. The rapist has already issued a Death Warrant on the child.
John Rutledge Smith, USA
I think if a proper jury trial is given, then castration is definitely an expectable deterrent. If a man cannot handle the responsibility of his sexuality then he does not deserve to have it. No amount of talking about what causes HIV is going to alter the morals of a person willing to rape a child. This is not a matter of ignorance, but a matter of adult depravity.
Barbra Mack, USA
Yes. This is one of the few cases when drastic action is merited. Merely the threat of castration should (one would think) be enough to deter some men.
I do believe that child rapists should be castrated. Any man will tell you, the threat of losing his testicles would be a mighty deterrent against almost any such activity.
These men have jumped across the boundary line of the civilized into the immoral and the cruel .
Perhaps a better course of action would be to educate the people in advance as to the realities of AIDS and the absolute futility that lies in the raping of young girls and boys in hopes of a cure.
Simon Pollard, Canada
All child rapists should be castrated whether in Africa, England or anywhere for that matter. It would act as some sort of deterrent. It doesn't violate their human rights, they violate the human rights of all those children by raping them in the first instance.
Michael Paraskeva, England
I think that castration of child rapists is a good idea.
Even if it does not act as a deterrent, the offender will not be able to offend again. I do not believe it is a violation of human rights, as the offender has violated a child's human rights by raping that child.
Vivian Krynie, UK
It certainly would deter some men! But for me it is a bit too barbaric and unduly adds to the cost of justice. Simply castrating a child rapist is not sufficient punishment for the crime, it would be wrong that offenders walk free from the clinic.
What a deterrent this would be! If only the government had the guts to introduce such laws in the UK our children would be safe.
Paul Baker, UK
No they should not be castrated. They should be executed instead. Such individuals do not deserve to live.
If Zambia starts to castration child rapist, it's a model country to the whole world. But western human rights activist will attack Zambia, and they will demand the same punsihment to the guilty one as example the catholic priests got, nothing.
Kustaa Punkari, Finland