Keeping girls safe from harm
Getting girls off the streets of Dhaka
Poroshmoni, 8, lives in the slums of Dhaka and was attacked on her way home. She is now a day student at an ActionAid-funded safe house.
“Girls are facing lots of problems on the street,” says Poroshmoni. “I went to my friend’s house nearby to play with her. At 7pm I was coming home.
“That area becomes silent and dark after sunset because there are no lights on the streets. So one boy stopped me on my way and tried to pick me up. I was scared and started screaming. Somehow I managed to escape and save my life. When my mother heard me screaming she came out of the house and I ran to her.
“Now I am scared to move alone after evening,” adds Poroshmoni. “If someone took me, I’d never see my mother and friends. When I think about this, I feel bad.”
Poroshmoni now also spends her afternoons and early evenings at Happy Homes; doing homework, playing with her friends and having lunch. She loves to sing and to dance. She told us: “I can study well, eat properly and can play with many children.”
Human trafficking: a hidden problem
By its very nature, human trafficking – especially child trafficking — is not done in public so it’s difficult to measure, find official figures or to really know the scale of the problem.
But from 45 years experience working with and talking to our local staff and partners, we know that trafficking happens in countries, cities, towns and rural areas all over the world.
- 40,177 trafficking cases were reported worldwide between 2010-2012 (this number is the tip of the iceberg as most trafficking goes unreported).1
- 21% of all trafficked people are girls (70% women and girls, 33% children).2
- Sexual exploitation accounts for 26% of all trafficking in East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific.3
Child trafficking happens especially in the world’s poorest places, especially after a disaster strikes or if that country is experiencing civil war, drought, famine or just unrelenting poverty. Girls are particularly at risk of sex trafficking at those times.
And UN figures suggest that 7,000 women and girls are trafficked out of Nepal to India every year4.
Child trafficking in Nepal
After the Nepal earthquakes in 2015, thousands of young girls lost their homes and families, making them vulnerable targets for sex traffickers.
Lured to India with the promise of a better life, they’ll instead be forced into a life of hard labour and exploitative sex work.
ActionAid is working in Nepal providing safe spaces for women and children, protecting them from threats to their wellbeing.
By helping communities to recover and rebuilding homes and schools, we are helping families to re-establish their livelihoods, reducing poverty and keeping girls safe from harm.
Child exploitation and labour
Missing out on an education, healthcare and proper nutrition, child workers are denied their right to a childhood. With no chance to play and exposed to exploitation, they are forced to grow up much too fast.
- 168 million children are engaged in child labour around the world. More than half of them, 85 million, are in hazardous work.1
- Almost 78 million, or 9.3%, of the child population in Asia and the Pacific are child labourers2.
- By the end of 2013, almost 65 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 years old were denied their right to an education.3
In many countries, parents may send their children, especially daughters, off to work, or to another country through a ‘trusted guardian’ because they physically can’t provide for them, and they believe their child will better off with at least a roof over their head and enough to eat.
Sometimes the whole family are forced into work, or ‘bonded labour’, for little or no pay, in horrible conditions.
Forced child labour in Pakistan
In many areas of Pakistan, children like 10-year-old Sidra are forced to work in brick kilns to increase their family’s income.
For more than 80 hours a week children shape mud into bricks, and are deprived of sufficient food, education and healthcare.
ActionAid is working to abolish child labour by ensuring that every child has the education that they deserve.
We work with parents, teachers and local authorities to make sure every child can go to school, no matter where they were born.
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