Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Bangladesh Child Protection Program Vision Trip
As a Women of Vision chapter, we have chosen to support World Vision’s Bangladesh Child Protection Program. In so doing, three of us were privileged to travel last month to Bangladesh, and to see first hand the work that World Vision is doing to address the difficult issue of human trafficking.
The issue of human trafficking is disturbing, but to know someone who has been trafficked is heart wrenching. We met trafficking victims who were rescued from the brothels in India, and they are now receiving care from World Vision to put their lives back together.
Children all over the world fall prey to traffickers because they are poor and marginalized. Poverty leaves them in such a vulnerable position where they are easily coerced, deceived, or sold into sexual slavery or child labor. World Vision is working to prevent this from happening in Bangladesh through the Child Protection Program.
There was no easing into this horrific issue of poverty and human trafficking. We were led straight to the city dump to witness the tremendous injustice and effect that poverty has on the children of Bangladesh.
The smell permeated our clothes for weeks leaving the residue of just 30 minutes in the dump. But for the children who work 6 hour days picking through garbage, their entire beings wreaked of decay. They are the children of the dump, and they know no other life. They live in the slums, cramped, congested, hungry, and vulnerable to trafficking.
The capital city of Bangladesh is Dhaka. With 17 million people, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It has one of the largest garbage dumps in the world. Trash sat upon trash 4 – 5 feet high as far as the eye could see. On top of that trash was a legion of women and children, picking through garbage, chasing behind bulldozers in search of recyclables that have some value.
These children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking because they have such a meager existence, trying to survive on what little money they earn from the refuse they collect. Their families are easily persuaded by traffickers that a job and a better life is waiting for their child in another city. They fall victim to these lies and deception.
Many showed signs of disease such as hepatitis, jaundice, malaria, lice, staph infections from cuts, fever, the list goes on. However, they have a saving grace in World Vision which provides a drop-in center for these children. They escape the dump for a couple hours a day, with a program of non-formal education.
There is an estimated 500 children working in the dump and only 50 registered at the World Vision drop-in center. Of these 50 children, we randomly chose 8 girls to speak with in depth about their harsh reality. They make about 20-50 cents a day working the dump which gives them one or 2 meals. We believe that if World Vision can provide just one meal for these kids at the drop-in center, then they wouldn’t have to work in the dump anymore.
We have many more stories of despair and hope. We saw lives being changed through the miracle of Child Sponsorship, which our chapter has been able to establish a block of 20 children within one ADP. With continued support, we are confident that these children can and will be saved.
If you want to know more about how you can make a difference on this issue, please visit our TAKE ACTION page.