Around seven lakh street children in the country were still vulnerable to violence, sexual abuse, hazardous work and trafficking and rehabilitation of the growing number of these children was becoming a challenging task for the government.
The government was working to give shelter to vulnerable and street children and it had taken various steps, including rehabilitation programmes, for these children.
Of the seven lakh street children, 2.50 lakh children lived in the capital.
According to a study conducted by Combating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children consortium, 86 per cent of street children were addicted to drugs and most of them were traumatised due to various terrible experiences in their life.
The consortium project was run with funds of the European Union. It mainly worked to stop sexual abuse of street children.
It found that over 20,000 children were born and lived in 12 registered brothels across the country.
The study said it was working on the street children centered at Dhaka’s Mirpur Shah Ali shrine. The Shah Ali shrine was used as a centre to give shelter to hundreds of street children, 12 catchments areas adjacent to the shrine, where street children resided and worked.
Street children also endured increased risks in regard to their safety and well-being. Many of them worked, often in hazardous and low wage jobs, to support themselves and their families.
Street boys were used to petty hefting, girl children were compelled to take up sex work as a profession and 86 per cent of the children were drug addicted.
The overall objective of the project was to contribute to elimination of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Bangladesh.
The specific objective of the project was to protect and promote the rights of survivors and children at risk through facilitating implementation of International Labour Organisation Convention 182 and UNCRC Optional Protocol Two in Bangladesh.
The consortium project covered Mirpur and Tangail areas. Target population comprised 870 street children and 130 children of sex workers.
The study found the result of the 1,000 survivors and at risk children of the project had been protected from commercial sexual exploitation or similar practices.
To guarantee their rights by applying holistic, integral care, survivors and at risk children of the consortium project influenced policy and implementation of Labour Organisation Convention 182 and UNCRC Optional Protocol II in Bangladesh through engaging civil society and media, it found.
The consortium project was working to implement the United Nations committee on the rights of the child at their 66th session held between May 26 and June 13 in 2014 defined CLO as of ‘competent bodies’ that could provide expert advice on the actual implementation of the UNCRC.
In its general comment no 12 (2009) on the rights of the children to be heard, the committee explicitly recognised the role that CLOs and children’s representatives played in the reporting process.
The UN working methods for the participation of children in the reporting process of the committee on the rights of the child guided that children should be given support and encouragement to form their own organisation and initiatives, which would create an environment for them to discuss their rights and express their own views on their state’s progress in a meaningful way.
Md Shohidul Islam, technical manager of CCSEC Consortium, said that the project had been working for the welfare of street children in Mirpur area.
The study had been released about the street children in Bangladesh to take the message to the world on how street children were facing various problems and were growing up with psychological problems.
These street children should be rehabilitated by the government and non-government organisations for a beautiful and better Bangladesh.
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