Problems with children working in the sex industry have been present for many years in Bangladesh. It is unlike the adult escorts in Sydney where they are old enough to decide on what they are doing and they are protected by the law because it is legal to do so in the country. According to the technical manager of Combating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Md Shohidul Islam, a study in 2016 revealed that 628 street children are currently living in the three wards located close to the shrine of Mirpur Shah Ali.
These children are as young as 8 years old and the oldest is 18 years old. The 344 females and 284 males have escaped abuse therefore they are in the centre. He said that the drop-in centre accepts children who have nowhere to go and living on the streets. They are open during weekdays from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.
Islam said that they are aware that some of the children are working in the sex trade but that is why they try as much as possible to give them the decent environment for their age but they still go back as soon as the night comes. He admitted that it has become such as vicious cycle and they cannot do anything about it.
CCSEC, the brainchild of Terre des Hommes Netherlands, offers shelter home to children that are involved in the sex trade. It is located in Tangail and as of writing they have 130 children who are recipients of education and courses related to life skills. Islam said that these children have already turned their back on the sex trade and are starting a new life altogether.
Bangladesh National Women Lawyer’s Assocation’s president, Fawzia Karim Firoze, said that in accordance with the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act 2012, children below 18 years old are not legally allowed to work in the sex trade.
This is different from the adult escorts in Sydney where the trade is within the laws. Bangladesh, on the other hand, does not even categorize sex trade as a legal profession.