Safe Night for Street Boys

The street children who are engaged in prostitution are exposed to the crudest and prolonged form of sexual abuse and exploitation. Because of excessive abuse, the children suffer from acute case of psychological maladjustment and trauma. The harsh environment of the street forces the children to develop as socially handicapped. Moreover, the sexual abused children are highly stigmatized and are considered as social outcasts.

The boys involved in prostitution living in the street, face numerous hazards every moment of their lives. The three major constituencies were identified where the children face lack of protection, they are namely:

  • Physical Safety.
  • Social Safety.
  • Economic Safety

The strata of street children who are engage in prostitution in Bangladesh emerged as a direct consequence of poverty, over-population, migration, internal trafficking, unemployment and illiteracy as well as unplanned urbanization.  The process of rural-urban migration triggered by landlessness brings not only adults to the cities but also their offspring’s. As such working children of the urban poor often find themselves on the streets with the crucial responsibility of sustaining themselves and their families.

The causes behind emergence of street child prostitutes:

  • Inadequate protection of the children from becoming victims of sex abuse and prostitution.
  • Inadequate initiative of the community and planners in protecting children from sex abuse and prostitution,
  • Poor access of the children engaged in prostitution to the existing health facilities,
  • Inadequate safe space for the abused children to overcome mental and physical trauma
  • Inadequate awareness of the community on the risk of the working children being trafficked,
  • Inadequate awareness of the community on the risk of the working children being abused,
  • Inadequate awareness and intervention of the GO-NGO on child sex abuse and child prostitution,
  • Inadequate awareness of the children engaged in prostitution about the existing health facilities,
  • Inadequate awareness of the existing health service providers about the sexually abused children,
  • Inadequate especial program to help the children engaged in prostitution to manage trauma.

The direct effect of the above mentioned causes is, children end up in the street as victim of sexual abuse and exploitation. The street child’s access to basic amenities, primary education, health, and legal protection, is largely excluded under the present policies and program.  Substandard housing and overcrowded homes drive children to the streets, where absence of sanitation and safe water causes disease and avoidable deaths.  Malnutrition results in various diseases and disabilities that threaten the lives of the street boy prostitutes as they struggle on their own.  The life pattern and poverty of the street children specially the working children exclude them from the rigid structure of formal schooling, thus adding to the number of non-literate in the country.  Thus, not only in terms of poverty and basic needs, but in terms of the manifold social, physical and sexual abuse they face in their daily lives, the street children remain the most vulnerable group and a serious challenge to the country’s development. The prevailing causes put enormous pressure on children’s physical and mental health; children food intake, rest, game and pleasure; education; above all economic, social and physical safety.

But still children are living insecure life in the street and they become more exposed in night to the peril of human monsters and nature, exposed alone in zero social safety net comparing to the daytime. They are robbed, raped, molested, STI/HIV infected, and indoctrinated to the prostitution.

Through the project INCIDIN Bangladesh create space for the street boy prostitutes to have some fun in life, safe shelter to live, a school to be educated a health out-post to have medical services, minimum cloths for summer and winter and for most a good night sleep after a exhaustive day. Program where children with adult will try to ensure the basic rights to the street boy prostitutes in general, “safe night for street children” in specific, night without harm, free from any sort of abuse and exploitation.

Development objectives/goals and related indicators

Reduce child sexual abuse, exploitation and unsafe night for the street boys in Dhaka city from a right based approach.

Immediate objectives/purposes/project goals and related indicators

  • Boys in forced prostitution enjoyed better quality of life.
  • Duty bearers have become more responsive to ensure safe night for the street children.

BENEFICIARIES AND TARGET GROUP

Beneficiaries:

Within the 24 months project period per day 30 boys will be the direct beneficiaries of the curative intervention components the project.

Target Group

Within the project period, street children’s efforts will be targeted to like minded NGOs working with street boy prostitutes, child right activist, civil society activist and journalist, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (Minister, Secretary, Joint Secretary, Director General, Project Director, Concern official etc.)   Ministry of Social Welfare  Affairs ( including  APRISE and Capacity Building project)  Ministry of Home Affairs ( Minister, Secretary and police official at project level) , Ministry of law ( Policy level) , Ministry of Health (at services level , medical officials)    and Ministry of Local Government ( Local elected representative at project level), Directorate of Facilities.

PROGAMMING STYRATEGY

Creating an Alliance with GOs & NGOs working directly with street children on “Safe Night” for street Children.

The alliance is formulated with the like-minded GOs and NGOs working directly with the street children. The alliance is by definition not a permanent but a short term entity; focusing on specifically two issues safe night shelter and safe shelter homes for street children. This is needed because:

The alliance works for creating awareness among people, government ministries, political parties, civil society, UN bodies, local NGOs and INGOs regarding these issues. It also lobbies and acts as pressure groups to take necessary steps to ensure street children with safe night and safe shelters. The alliance develops suggestions and strategies for the NGOs/CBOs on the basis of research. As per the recommendations and strategic guideline the alliance utilize different tools and forms of advocacy to bring about policy level changes in favor of protecting the rights of the children living and working in the mean streets of the cities. In this regard the following activities may be organized by the alliance.

  • Action Research
  • Workshops/seminars and dialogs with policy makers
  • Media campaign
  • Lobbying
  • Mobilization etc.
Running Night Shelter

Shelter is the static points in which a street boy prostitutes can step in any time in between 8:00 am in the morning and 1:00 am in the morning. The night shelter works at day time as focal points through which the street boy prostitutes are provided with multiple services other than night stay.

In the day time the night shelter will work as the drop-in-centre. In this centres children will have access to:

  • Health care services
  • Social and legal awareness
  • Recreational facilities
  • Psychological assistance
  • Peer companions
  • Responsible adult guidance
  • Cafeteria
Non-formal Education for the Children

The street boys are highly mobile and are engaged in one of multiple odd jobs. As such, form the field level experience of INCIDIN Bangladesh has identified some in-built uniqueness in structure and approach of the non-formal education components to ensure quality education for the street boys; namely:

  • Flexibility in time and space is a must to ensure enrolment of these children in any educational program.
  • Flow of motivational inputs is needed although the projects span to ensure enrolment and continuation of study of these children.
  • Flexible educational curriculum is needed to take into account of slow learning problem of the children.
  • Innovative teaching methods need to be applied to make the class interactive and attractive (education through entertainment is most appropriate for these children).
The objectives of the school program is two-fold:
  • To fulfill the Government declaration of “Universal Primary Education” and “Compulsory Primary Education”.
  • To provide the street boys with the access to functional literacy which may in future work as the basis of further education

Taking the objectives and the above mentioned unique characteristics of the street boys program into consideration, INCIDIN Bangladesh has carefully designed separate educational outlets for different kinds of street boys.  These are:

Jokhon Tokhon Schools:

The Jokhon Tokhon School is a setup more like a drop-in-center in which a child can walk in any time (of her/his convenience) and participate in educational activities. This approach depends heavily on making the educational process interesting and attractive so that the children are not bored and that they continue coming to the center.

 

Methodology:

In this approach at the drop-in-center, the teachers will be available from 8:00 am in the morning to 8:00 pm in the evening. Two teachers will work in two shifts; (such that First Shift: 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and Second Shift: 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm). The teachers prepare and maintain individual study plan for each of the children who are coming for education to the center. The idea of the schooling is to offer the children with the flexibility in timing. The children need not come to the center at any fixed time of day. The children can come at any time at any day of the week. However, to ensure graduation in three months for each of the children, each of the children is motivated to attend education at any three day (not necessarily the same days in every week) at any time of their convenience.  The method of education includes drawing, singing and other scopes creating exposures. The copies of the children are kept at the center and study plan are updated based on the progress made by individual students.

Health Care Services to the Children

As such the INCIDIN Bangladesh proposes both curative and preventive health intervention strategies.

Strategy Means
Curative Health Care Provision of Medicare and Health services
Preventive Health Care Awareness Raising Campaign and Health Education

The health care services will have the following components:

Curative Health Care:

The street boy prostitutes have a high rate of morbidity. To ensure a healthier life for these children, provision of direct health care services is a necessary step.

The experience of the INCIDIN Bangladesh indicates that both referral service and own physician support is required to ensure continual health services for the street boy prostitutes.

At present the INCIDIN Bangladesh. is delivering health services to the street child prostitutes through:

  • Weekly (routine) health check-up at the drop-in-center
  • Referral Services through networking with other NGOs/GOs (e.g. Gonoshasta Narag Hospital, CTRDW, Child Development Center of Dhaka Shishu Hospital, Mari Stopes etc.)
  • Delivering essential medicine.
Preventive Health Care:

The preventive health care will depend on raising the awareness of the children through issue based discussion, information dissemination sessions, use of IEC materials (including flip-charts, posters, leaflets, video spots etc.).The preventive approach will include such issues as:

Legal Aid Protection to the Children

The street boy prostitutes are at risk of being victims of criminals and exploiters. The children themselves are sometimes used by the criminals. The street boy prostitutes are sexually abused, trafficked and engaged in various exploitative and hazardous professions. As a result, the rights of the children, as proclaimed under UNCRC, are violated. The main objectives of the legal aid protection activities are:

To raise awareness of the different stakeholders including GO/NGOs, peoples representatives, government officials.

  • To create access of the boys having conflict with the laws, to legal support.
  • To build awareness of the children on UNCRC
  • To protect the children from violation of children’s rights
  • Psychological Counseling to the Children
  • In this regard the expertise and experience of the INCIDIN Bangladesh in psycho-social counseling of sexually abused traumatized children is also contributing. The activities under this heading will have two major objectives:
  • To enhance the capacity of the project staff on psychological counseling of sexually abused and traumatized street boy prostitutes.
  • To deliver psychological counseling to sexually abused street boy prostitutes.

Organizing Recreational Activities for the Children

According to the UNCRC, access to recreation is a right of every child. For the street boy prostitutes, access to healthy sources of recreations is not in existence. On the other hand, it is the understanding of the consortium that recreation can also contribute in providing education and awareness to the children. As a result, the consortium puts emphasis on creating opportunities of both recreational and creative exposure for the street boy prostitutes. Thus the component of recreational activities has two broad objectives:

  • To provide the street boy prostitutes to healthy sources of recreation for relaxation.
  • To boost the mental status of the street boy prostitutes by arranging creative and entertaining events and exposures.

Research and documentation

The project aims to conduct researches on child related issues in the project area and develop new intervention strategies based on the findings for the children those who are engaged in prostitution. The lesson learns and best practices will be documented.

IMPACT

The street children engaged in prostitution have to face the following risk factors and preconditions:

Physical hazard: The children engaged in prostitution are suffering from STDs, physical assaulted, torture. About 60% girls and 90% boys are addicted in different types of drug or some other intoxicating substances (Drug Abuse and Adjustment: A short Study on the Sexually Exploited Children in Dhaka City, 1994).

Psychological hazard: Children engaged in prostitution are suffering from psychosomatic disorders and show the tendency of headache, dizziness, back pain, digestion problems. The intense of emotional state is related trauma stemmed from the degree of sexual abuse and exploitation and physical assault and violence. About 57% boys and 62% girls suffer from anger and frustration and low self-esteem (Tendency of Psychological Disorders among the Street Child Prostitutes in Dhaka City, 1994).

Socio-economic hazard: Boys and girls those who are engaged in prostitution rank the police force to be prime source of social insecurity. While the children unanimously voted for local mastan and matabbar. They have not got legal assistance from the legal agencies in the street level. They have no safety ness in the night in the street. They are economically deprived from clients, pimps and other actors.

The above mentioned hazards are minimized by the project by maintaining the following:

  • Ensuring safe nights for boy child prostitutes
  • Psychosocial support
  • Legal assistance
  • Safe night shelter
  • Medical assistance
  • Referral services
  • Networking and advocacy
  • Awareness raining activities
  • Night shelter provides safe nights to 60 street boy prostitutes each day and also provided with multiple services other than night stay.
  • The project under take two sets of activities in ensuring psychological assistance to the child prostitutes; first capacity building of the staff: The trainers from INCIDIN Bangladesh organize training workshop for the project personnel. There is one refresher training and continual monitoring of the performance of the staff to give them feedback by the trained experts. Secondly the project staff, mainly the counselor provides psychological counseling to the sexually abused street child prostitutes. The project also use the networking of the INCIDIN Bangladesh with the CDC of Shishu Hospital to deliver psychological counseling to the street child prostitutes.
  • INCIDIN Bangladesh is considering its child rights based projects as a part of social responsibility and movement. Each and every positive contribution to the child rights situation is absorbed in social progress and prosperity as an addition, which cannot be lost anyway. In our experience, the project is creating alliances in the community for socially sustainable as much as it contributed to the children, other beneficiaries and the community.
  • The project is   providing the various awareness raising  program for the children engaged in prostitution that  creates control over information/knowledge power  on their  life threatening issues e.g. HIV/AIDS, STDs , safe sex and trafficking. There will be increased self-protecting effort from the children’s side and they will also take responsibility to pass information to other children.
  • Through the capacity development interventions the staffs of partners of the GO-NGO-INGOs and others organizations both national and divisional level directly or indirectly are working with the children, are provided training to enhance their capacity. In time they will be able to deal efficiently the sexually abused and exploited and trafficked children focusing on their unique psychosocial needs.
  • IEC/BCC materials developed by the project are helping to change the attitude towards children those who are sexually abused, exploited and trafficked in the rural and urban areas.
  • Through networking and advocacy initiatives, the implementation of National Plan of Action (NPA) are be scrutinized. The concern ministries of Government officials are pressurize to be accountable for ensuring child rights.
  • The learned lessons and research findings and good practices are documented and disseminated to the GOs and NGOs to use for future interventions for street child prostitutes. The research finding help to contribute the policy changes.
  • Safe night for street boy prostitutes is a model program which has been taken over/replicated by both GO and NGOs to create an integrated structure of quality care providing services with proper case management system to cater the specialized need of the sexually exploited children.

Through linkage and networking with the GO and various NGOs an integrated care providing structure with appropriate healing environment is ensured. This structure  encompass the care facilities like  psychosocial support, capacity building support, creation of  child friendly environment  and child participations etc  and other life skill activities for the children those who are sexually abused and  exploited and trafficked.