An estimated 13,000 children in Bangladesh are prey to the commercial sex industry of the country. More than 20,000 children are born and live in the 18 registered red-light areas of Bangladesh. Children born here live everyday life watching their mothers being exploited and ultimately resigning themselves to the same exploitation. Small children help their mothers in household chores and bring refreshments for their mother's clients. Boys tend to become pimps once they grow up and girls continue in their mothers’ profession. Most girls enter the profession before the age of 12. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
‘"When I approached a nearby primary school, everybody had a different look at me. As if I am unwanted there," Ayesha said’ (Bangladesh Web). Ayesha is among many young girls who start with enthusiasm to make a change but eventually give up this struggle. Societal indifference and apathy towards children of sex workers is one of the primary reasons for growing numbers of child sex workers.
The Government of Bangladesh is a signatory of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child and the ILO Convention 182 on Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour. The government’s main approach has also been towards victimizing women and children in prostitution and closing down these operations. This coupled with corruption within the government and law enforcement system have resulted in the government’s failure to combat child prostitution. National and local NGOs working in the field have accused the government of not having a national plan to combat child prostitution and largely deemed it’s initiatives so far as unsuccessful.
You can make a difference by voicing your opinion against the government’s slack in effectively fighting against the growing numbers of child sex workers.
2) SUGGESTED ACTION
Write to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the Minister for Women and Children Issues in Bangladesh.
Dear Prime Minister/ Dear Minister of Family and Children’s Issues,
I am writing to you to express my concern over the growing number of children sex workers in Bangladesh. Your government’s negligence in developing a comprehensive national plan to combat this problem and continual victimization of women and children involved in prostitution has been of grave concern to activists within and outside of Bangladesh.
Every child has the right to a childhood free of such misery and as a signatory of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child and the ILO Convention 182; it is your responsibility to provide your children this environment.
I urge to you to work towards eliminating child prostitution on a priority basis by adopting a strategy of providing alternative sources of income and education to families and children involved in prostitution instead of victimizing them.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO
1) Begum Khaleda Zia
Honorable Prime Minister
People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Salutation: Honorable Prime Minister
2) Khurshid Jahan HaqSend copy of letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Women & Children Affairs
Bhaban No. 6,Secretariat
Telephone: (+880 2) 8610568; 8611012
Facsimile: (+880 2) 8617550; 8612892
Posted on 2002-11-27