Bangladesh Launches Nationwide Coverage of ‘Child Help Line – 1098’

October 28, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Andrew Biraj/Reuters

 

By

Sheuli Akter

Bangladesh has launched nationwide coverage of the country’s first toll-free ‘Child Helpline – 1098’  to provide a free telephone service to children who are facing violence, abuse and exploitation.

The Child Helpline “1098” enables anyone to report child rights violations, child abuse, exploitation or any other act of disruption to the protection of children by calling a toll free number “1098” from any corner of the country, through any mobile phone operator.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Thursday officially launched the ‘Child Helpline – 1098’ at Gono Bhobon (the official residence of the Prime Minister) in the presence of local and foreign dignitaries.

“A revolution has taken place in the field of ICT in Bangladesh. Today, another technological milestone has been added by launching the ‘Child Helpline – 1098’ to promote and protect child rights and give children’s interest utmost priority. I am very happy that through this service children will be able to inform their concerns to the highest authority and will receive care and support as per their individual needs. Thank you to UNICEF for supporting the government in implementing various development initiatives for women and children in Bangladesh”, Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina said during the launch.

 

 

Child Help Line 1098 has been initiated in accordance with Article 90 of the Children Act 2013 to provide a means for channeling information from vulnerable children, children in conflict or contact with law as well as information of child rights violation, to an appropriate authority and simplify the process of providing information.

“UNICEF is committed to strengthening the child protection system in the country. We hope that together, we will be able to ensure a Bangladesh where all children can thrive and enjoy their rights without facing discrimination or violence”, said Sara Bordas Eddy on behalf of UNICEF Bangladesh.

The Child Sensitive Social Protection in Bangladesh Project under the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Social Welfare, supported by UNICEF Bangladesh, already started Child Help Line “1098” activities as a pilot initiative all over the country since December 2015.

To date, Child Helpline “1098” has supported the prevention of 379 child marriages and 2,070 children have been provided with health and education support as well as legal aid and reintegration services throughout the country through a referral mechanism. The Child Helpline operates a 24-hour telephone line and is provides emergency support to children at risk, as well as to concerned citizens who need to raise the alarm about certain children. The service also links children with existing social protection services through rescue, safe shelter, referral and networking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire). Previously she had worked for Bangladesh’ top news agency, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and top newspaper (now defunct) The Bangladesh Observer. She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.

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