The programme aims to reach an estimated 12,000 children
The European Union has contributed over $690,000 to support Unicef’s work protecting the rights of children affected by migration in Bangladesh.
The contribution will directly reach an estimated 12,000 children, over the next three years, who are migrating—or have been forcibly displaced within their own countries or across borders.
The programme is being implemented across multiple regions of Unicef’s operations in Southeast, South, and Central Asia. It will reach children affected by migration—including children left behind by parents or caregivers who have migrated in search of better economic opportunities to support their families.
In Bangladesh, the project will focus on issues of internal and cross-border migration; it will include children who are at-risk or survivors of trafficking.
According to official estimates, there is evidence of Bangladeshi children and women been trafficked from Bangladesh to India. Bangladesh’s Government reported that they number around 5000 – in 2014 and 2015 – in India and the Middle East.
Bangladesh is also hosting a large number of Rohingyas who escaped from the persecution of Myanmar government in Rakhine state.
Since August 2017, 605,000 people have crossed the border into Bangladesh from Myanmar—of which 60% are children.
Around 600,000 children are living on the streets and approximately 380,000 of them are between the ages of five and 14.
Unicef Bangladesh Representative Edouard Beigbeder said: “Poverty, physical or sexual abuse, and peer influence are the three major factors that push children to migrate from rural to urban areas and to further risk of trafficking. These children are deprived of essential services.”
“Unicef has always been there with its partners to ensure essential services to these most vulnerable children. Thanks to the European Union (EU) for this generous contribution, which will help to better protect children on the move,” he added.
Unicef will work with the authorities concerned to ensure children are never placed in detention for migration-related reasons, and strengthen alternative care options, such as foster care and kinship care, for those who are deprived of parental care or are unaccompanied.
The programme will help address issues related to child statelessness by enhancing policies and procedures—while establishing and strengthening systems for sharing information on family tracing and reunification across borders.
Ambassador and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink said: “All children, regardless of their migration status, must be protected. We have to ensure their access to education, healthcare and sanitation, social and legal services, and psychological support. And this is what the EU is committed to do. In cooperation with partners like Unicef, we help Bangladesh to strengthen its national child protection system – in order to ensure that no child is left behind.”
The new programme will also help gather data and evidence, from multiple regions where the project is being implemented, to better understand who and how many children are affected by migration, and develop information systems to monitor the services provided to them.