The Post’s Oct. 14 report “In Pakistan, a new focus on rape amid deadly attacks on children” queried various scholars and political leaders on what is causing an epidemic of rape of children. The problem was linked, variously, to a culture of terrorism and assassination, to overpopulation and to Islamic schools. But a crucial element was missing from the analysis: basic law enforcement.

While many contributing factors may allow violence to flourish, the most important by far is the failure of police, prosecutors and courts to deter child rape by regularly prosecuting rapists and sending them to jail. If there were an epidemic of rape or violence in our own communities, our first response would be to turn to law enforcement and demand that it do its job in protecting our children from crime. Pakistani children deserve this same protection — but if adults responsible for securing their safety have given up on basic law enforcement, then these children have an even more fundamental and devastating problem that needs attention.

Congress approved $18 billion in military and economic assistance to Pakistan between 2002 and 2010. How about supporting a Pakistani justice system that actually protects women and girls?

Gary A. Haugen, Washington

The writer is president of International Justice Mission.