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Sexual exploitation of children: BBB project plays a crucial role to eliminate child sexual exploitation

The Building Back Better (BBB) project worked at the national and the grassroots level aims to eliminate sexual exploitation of children in Bangladesh. The Project has played an important role in creating mass awareness amongst the people to stop child abuse and exploitation and helping the victims of sexually abused and exploited children.

These were revealed at the ‘Outcome Harvesting Festival’ of the project organised by Terre des Hommes Netherlands and supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs held in the capital recently.

Ain o Salish Kendra – a nationally recognised human rights organisation – has worked on child sexual exploitation and INCIDIN Bangladesh worked on child trafficking as the partner organisations of Terre des Hommes Netherlands under the BBB project.

In the project’s concluding ceremony, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), said it has submitted a number of recommendations identifying the gaps in the four laws to the Law Commission of Bangladesh. The recommendations include specific definitions and types of sexual abuse and exploitation contributing to ensure justice of all kinds of sexual exploitation in favour of the victims, if properly implemented.

These four laws are: Women and Children Repression Act-2000 (Amended-2010); Pornography Control Act-2012; Digital Security Act-2018; and Children Act-2013 (Amended 2018).

The BBB project, launched on 15 May 2021, has worked in 4 districts (Tangail, Bagerhat, Jashore and Satkhira) districts and aims to stop the sexual exploitation of children by moblising child rights defenders’ forum and school ambassadors also known as children and youth advocates .

These members have been trained in online and offline sexual exploitation, child trafficking, typologies of abuse and exploitation, ways and means of solutions, and services from the government agencies.

They conducted campaigns through Facebook and Youtube, circulated the IEC materials to aware people on sexual exploitation of children. Further, they have also conducted door to door campaigns on child abuse and sexual exploitation by suggesting people calling the national helpline numbers such as 999 and 1098 when any sort of child abuse and exploitation occurred. While 999 is a national emergency help line, 1098 is dedicated to the sexual abuse victim support helpline.

Video content has also been developed by the youth advocates on the sexual exploitation of children. They published the video on social media platforms including Facebook and Youtube and received a huge response from the audience.

Through advocacy campaign people have been moblised not to publish personal pictures of the children, videos and documents on social media as unscrupulous people might use these on child pornographic content. There are many examples of such kinds of online crimes in the contemporary world including in Bangladesh.

It also described that positive behaviour is needed with sexually abused children by the caregivers including parents.

At present, Bangladesh has three Child Development Centres (CDCs) located in Tongi, Gazipur, and Jashore. As part of policy advocacy, BBB project has submitted child-friendly case management guidelines to the Ministry of Social Welfare pointing out existing gaps and limitations of the CDCs, and suggested short, mid, and long-term recommendations.

Furthermore, National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has already assured the project concerned to include a few contents on child protection in the national curricula from class six to class ten.

Mahmudul Kabir, Country Director, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, said, “Sexual exploitation of children is increasing day by day at an alarming rate in the country. Our children are not safe in the era of digital communication. As online pornographic contents are available on the internet, perverted people are taking the advantage of the internet. They are using children in their porn business. It is horrific.”

Terre des Hommes Netherlands has been working against child sexual exploitation through its various projects from the very beginning of the organisation, he added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh