Preventing Child Labour And Human Trafficking
In Bangladesh an estimated 1.3 million children are doing hazardous work that risks their health and development and exposes them to abuse, exploitation, violence and even human trafficking. Lazina, aged 14, is one of those children. She was forced to leave school to work in an umbrella factory.
“After fifth grade I dropped out of school due to my family’s financial crisis. My mother’s clothing business was worse than ever. We could not afford three meals a day. A neighbour suggested that my mother send me to work nearby,” says Lazina.
In 2019, Islamic Relief helped 275 children in Dhaka escape child labour. “Islamic Relief came to help us. They told us they would support the children to quit and send them back to their schools,” says Lazina’s mother.
Lazina’s mother was invited to form a self-help group with other mothers, all of whom received BDT 14,000 (around £130) to set up a small enterprise of their own. “With this grant I started my clothing business again and it is doing well,” she says. “Now I can afford my house rent, food and education for my daughter. My main aim is to educate her properly. I am so grateful to Islamic Relief. They support us and are by our side in our worst days.”
The Islamic Relief child welfare programme is creating alternative livelihood options and giving children access to life-changing education. We are also working to change attitudes to child labour in Bangladesh so that children are not engaged in work that puts them at risk.
“We find out what is right and what is wrong.”
Prama, former child
labourer in Nepal
Prama, 15, has worked with her father and sisters in a brick factory since she was small, while her mother toils in the fields in exchange for grain.
“I pray to God that my children never suffer as I have suffered,” says Prama’s mother, explaining that her husband regularly beats her. She does not argue with him for fear he may turn on their children. “I am lucky to have children who understand and support each other with every hurdle that comes our way.”
“My mother is my hero,” says Prama. “She is a strong woman.”
Prama is being helped by an Islamic Relief project to protect children in Nepal who are at risk of child trafficking and the worst forms of child labour. Both have been rising since the devastating earthquake of 2015, with poor families resorting to selling a child into slavery.
The project was launched in Rautahat district this year, and includes a community monitoring and alert system to identify and engage children who are most at risk. It prioritises those intercepted by anti-trafficking booths near the border or rescued from child labour. Preventative measures include providing education and protection services, as well as helping poor families to earn a reliable income.
So far Islamic Relief has reached over 1,400 people through interventions including community awareness sessions.
“Coming to the protection and awareness centre and participating in sessions gives me hope to see better days,” says Prama. “We find out what is right and wrong. We are very thankful for this support for children like us who are victims of violence and hardship.”