BANGLADESH: Case study of a childhood spent in prison


Shanto, a Bangladeshi male child, was a victim of trafficking and made to work as a camel jockey in Dubai.

In 2004, after 4-5 years, the traffickers were arrested at the airport while they were returning with him from Dubai. The police filed a case against them under the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act 2000.

At the time, Shanto was unable to provide his address to the Court, and so the Court sent him into safe custody at the Central Jail in Dhaka. He was later transferred to the Child Development Center (CDC), Tongi, and finally to the CDC, Jessore. Due to the Court not specifying how long he would remain in safe custody, and an anomaly in the law, which allows a person to be kept in safe custody pursuant to the Children Act until the proceedings concerned have ended, Shanto remained in such custody for eight years.

Recently, the Social Welfare Ministry requested BLAST to provide legal assistance to Shanto. BLAST initially made an application to free the child from the CDC under the surety of Md. Rashidul Islam (Staff Lawyer), but the Court refused the application.

When Shanto was eighteen years old, and BLAST made another application, the Court freed him. Whilst in safe custody, Shanto was trained in computing and electric work.

Due to the combined efforts of both the Social Welfare Ministry and BLAST, a job was arranged for him before he was released from the CDC. Shanto is currently working in a foreign NGO.




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