The premier officially launched the helpline Thursday at Ganabhaban in Dhaka through a video conference, said a Unicef press release.
Social Welfare Minister, Nuruzzaman Ahmed, Supreme Court Appellate Division Judge Justice Imman Ali, Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare Md Zillar Rahman, acting CEO of Grameenphone Yasir Azman and Sara Bordas Eddy on behalf of Unicef Bangladesh along with other concerned dignitaries attended the inaugural.
Sheikh Hasina said: “A revolution has taken place in the field of ICT in Bangladesh. Today, another technological milestone has been added by launching the ‘Child Help Line 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,” the PM added.
Child Help Line 1098 has been initiated in accordance with Article 90 of the Children Act 2013 to provide a means for channelling information from vulnerable children, children in conflict or contact with the law as well as information of child rights violation, to an appropriate authority and simplify the process of providing information.
Sara Bordas Eddy said: “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.”
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.
The government earlier introduced "10921" to deal with cases of violence against women and "16263" for health-related issues.