Vision Trip Report: Child Protection in Bangladesh
We’re excited to bring a blog post from Amy Olson, from the WOV New York City chapter, who recently traveled to Bangladesh with Angela Mason and other WOV to view child protection projects. To find out more about Vision Trips, or how to sponsor a child in Bangladesh, contact our WOV Helpdesk at 1.877.968.4968.
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 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, and hungry.
The capital city of Bangladesh is Dhaka. 17 million people live there, making it the most densely populated city in the world. It has huge garbage dumps, each many football fields long. We went to one where 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 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. 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.
At this particular dump, there are an estimated 500 children working 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 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. Our chapter has been able to support 20 children who live within one area. With continued support, we are confident that these children can and will be saved.