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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 06:05 GMT
Push to stop child trafficking
Bangladeshi children
Children are exploited by political or criminal groups

International experts are meeting in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, on Monday to look at ways to stop child trafficking and exploitation.

The conference will be attended by both domestic and international experts, and takes place amid increasing concern throughout the country over the welfare of children.

Human rights activists and aid agencies say thousands of children in Bangladesh suffer on a daily basis.

The United Nations says an estimated 300,000 live on the streets, while hundreds more are trafficked, sometimes unaccompanied, to the rest of South Asia or the Middle East.

Camel jockeys

The focus of the conference, staged by Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children, is to explore ways of stopping children from being sent abroad against their will.

Mohammad Mamun, 10, shows his injured leg
Child camel jockeys are strapped onto the animals with ropes
Organisers say they are keen to prevent children from living and working in brothels across South Asia.

In Bangladesh alone, it is estimated that around 20,000 children live in the country's 18 registered brothels.

ATSEC officials say they also want to stop the much-discussed problem of children being used as camel jockeys in the Gulf countries.

Jailed children

A report published over the last week says more than 1,000 children are being held in adult jails across the country.

Recent figures suggest that the number of juveniles being held in prison is unlikely to diminish in the foreseeable future, as there has been an increase in crime committed by children.

These range from carrying arms and explosives on behalf of political parties, to various drugs offences.

Children are becoming more involved in violent crime and theft. Recently, three teenage boys were arrested in Dhaka for killing a teacher, after one of them was demoted for poor exam results.


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04 Jan 03 | South Asia
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