Abuse and exploitation
© UNICEF Bangladesh/2008/Noorani
An adolescent girl puts on make-up in Tangail brothel, Dhaka division.
Trafficking for sexual exploitation and bonded servitude is believed to be extensive both within Bangladesh and to India, Pakistan and the Middle East. Children living in extreme poverty are particularly vulnerable to trafficking as families are offered cash payments and promises of better livelihood options for their children by traffickers. For children trafficked outside Bangladesh, rescue and repatriation is difficult.
Once trafficked, adolescents tend to live with other exploited children, alone on the streets, or with their abusers. They are completely marginalized from mainstream society.
Commercial sexual exploitation
For both boys and girls, initial experiences of sexual exploitation invariably involve sexual violence or rape. Rates of sexually transmitted infections are high among victims of sexual exploitation and access to – and acceptance of – condoms is limited. Psychological problems and discrimination within the local community make reintegration to normal life a challenging process for exploited and abused children.
The incidence of child labour increases for adolescents, causing many children to miss out on secondary education. Secondary school attendance rate of boys – at only 46 per cent – is even lower than among girls. Working adolescents, especially those who migrate to urban centres, face hazardous working conditions and risk mistreatment and abuse.
Read about the UNICEF projects that protect children at risk.