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Bangladesh

Most people live in the big cities. In and among the crowds, many children are exploited. Starting at a young age, they work to help their families. Or they are sexually exploited and sold like goods. Many girls are forced to marry. It frees their families from having to provide for them, which saves money. These girls are often abused. We fight against child exploitation in Bangladesh. We provide children a safe place, education, medical help and legal support. Championing children’s rights, we lobby governments and educate communities.

Our work in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is composed of 150 million people living tightly together. Bangladesh is a middle - lower income country. One in four people lack enough money for food, clothing or shelter. One in ten suffers from extreme poverty.

We fight against child exploitation in Bangladesh. We provide children a safe place, education, medical help and legal support. Championing children’s rights, we lobby governments and educate communities.

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Background

Bangladesh is very vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, storm surge, earthquake and tsunami. Cyclones and floods in particular cause massive damage affecting millions of lives and livelihoods every year. Additionally, the country is home to one of the largest refugee populations, with more than 884,000 Rohingya people living in camps and shelters in Cox's Bazar. Many of these shelters and camps are extremely congested and located in dangerous flood and landslide-prone areas. Access to essential services, including protection, health and wash are major challenges. 

Child labour in Bangladesh

Education is crucial in a country with so much poverty. It offers children who must work the chance for a better life. That is why our main focus is getting children to school.

About 7.2 million children work in Bangladesh, notably in Dhaka and Chittagong. They are no older than 14. Almost one in six does dangerous work, which the government does not regulate. This so-called informal economy includes collecting waste, working in car factories and chemical workshops, hauling work in the harbour and serving as driver’s assistants.

We provide children the chance to learn professional skills. And we make sure that as many unemployed children as possible finish school. They have a right to.

We also work with companies to improve safety and education of children who do work there. In hopes that fewer children are exploited, our campaigns publicise the disadvantages of child labour.

Sexual exploitation

An estimated 30,000 girls are sexually exploited in Bangladesh. Many work in brothels. The rest work out of parking lots, bus stations and parks as well as online. Bangladesh has 18 official red light districts. The children who grow up there know no better. Many boys become pimps. Girls follow their mothers to become sex workers, often before age 12.

Terre des Hommes provides victims of sexual exploitation medical care and legal support. We help children finish their education, so they learn a professional skill and get the chance to find other work. 

 In Bangladesh, searches for sex with girls occur online, too. Collaborating with internet and telephone companies, we work towards better protection from online exploitation.

We educate communities and help institutions better attend to children. We encourage governments to comply better with laws. Stop child exploitation in Bangladesh. Join our fight.

Child trafficking and migration in Bangladesh

Children in Bangladesh who roam the streets or are fleeing face great risk. They are often picked up by traffickers and sold. They do heavy, unhealthy and dangerous work – unpaid. 

We provide these children a safe place. We carry out a lot of actions, calling their situation to the attention of police, lawyers and judges so they better protect children.

We also have extensive contact with national government and other agencies. We urge them to modify their policies, pass laws against human trafficking and, specifically, child trafficking.  

Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Bangladesh

Talking about sex and sexuality is a major taboo in Bangladesh. This makes it hard to tackle various problems. People think that sexual frankness leads to more premarital sex. Early pregnancies, child marriages and medical and psychological problems related to sexual abuse are poorly handled. Almost no services exist to help victims. 

We empower child brides, children born in brothels and girls from the poorest groups of the population, the Dalit caste. We encourage them to stand up for themselves. We provide sexual and reproductive healthcare and remind them of their right to experience sexuality healthily and safely. For example, we urge them to decide for themselves if and when they want children.

We are also working to change mentalities. We do this through awareness-raising that is culturally appropriate yet aims to end child marriages, abuse and forced pregnancies.

When it comes to sexuality, everyone has the right to make their own decisions. Join our fight. Stop the sexual exploitation of children in Bangladesh.

Humanitarian Action

Terre des Hommes works in the Cox's Bazar refugee camps, as well as with the host communities. We offer emergency aid to Rohingya children and their families fleeing violence in Myanmar.

Being one of the key emergency response actors, Terre des Hommes works  to enhance the safety and dignity of refugees and host communities in Cox's Bazar providing multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance including child protection and health. Key activities include strengthening access to quality Essential Package of Health Services at the public health centers for refugee and host communities, and ensuring critical access to the Fecal Sludge Management system; and strengthening access to quality, gender-sensitive Child Protection services for at-risk boys and girls, including Case Management and Psycho-Social Support services for refugee and host communities.

We do our humanitarian action through partnership and generous support from the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO).

Our programmes

Ongoing

Capacity building of early married girls in Bangladesh

Being a girl in Bangladesh is a difficult reality as it has one of highest rates of early marriage in the worl…

Ongoing

Addressing child trafficking in Bangladesh

Child trafficking has been on the rise in Bangladesh, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with the…

Learn about our programmes

Our partners in Bangladesh

Together with experienced partners we are working towards a world without child exploitation, where young people can feel safe today and better about tomorrow. Join our fight.

Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK)

Visit the website of ASK

Association for Community Development

Our Country Representative

Mahmudul Kabir is the Country Manager for Terre des Hommes Netherlands in Bangladesh. He has dedicated 40 years of his life to providing support to people in his country, especially children. Kabir is leading his team in implementing projects and programmes that benefit the most vulnerable children and those who are exploited.

Read Kabir's Feature

Contact us

Terre des Hommes Netherlands - Bangladesh Country Office
House- 20, Road- 11(New) 32(Old), Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh
directions
+88-(0)2-48110265

Business hours

Sunday to Thursday
9.00-17.00

Latest News

September 20th, 2022

Building Back Better report

The number of children who fall victim to (online) sexual exploitation has increased worldwide. The system tha…

July 27th, 2022

Building Back Better overview

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June 24th, 2022

Annual report 2021

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May 20th, 2022

Key findings from Down to Zero’s safety by design research

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Triumphing Over Disability, Breadwinner for the Family

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Jhorna regains her aspiration

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June 23rd, 2021

Terre des Hommes and adoptions from Bangladesh in the 1970s

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June 23rd, 2021

Lawsuit against State, adoption organization Wereldkinderen and Terre des Hommes

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June 10th, 2021

Annual report 2020

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June 1st, 2021

A Spontaneous Support

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December 1st, 2020

A Role Model of Community Child Rights Defenders

Leaders of our communities are integral to solving issues and moving forward. They become role models of child…

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