Child rape increases by 31pc, 45,480 children face repression

Prothom Alo illustration

A total of 818 incidents of child rape were reported in the national dailies between January and December in 2021, which were 31 per cent higher than that of 2020.

Majority of the child rape took place within the family arena by their acquaintances.

In 2021, sexual assaults and attempted rapes increased 588 and 154 times respectively compared to the previous year.

In the year, 426 per cent of children were victimised in early marriage.

Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), a non-government and non-profit organisation, has come up with these findings on Tuesday in a virtual event titled 'Child Situation Report 2021'.

The foundation analysed the reports published in the eight newspapers over the year.

The report claimed the rate of child rape, murder, sexual abuse and child marriage has risen alarmingly.

According to the media reports, a total of 2,426 children have been affected in 12 categories in 2021, including sexual abuse, rape, attempted rape, road accident, other accidents, abduction, murder, torture, suicide, children's involvement in crime, missing and drowning. In 2020, the number was 1,420.

Some 818 children were raped across the country and 94 children were attempted to rape. Among them, fourteen died after rape while 183 children were killed for various reasons with 110 abused sexually. In 2020, the number of children subjected to rape and murder was 626 and 145 respectively.

Apart from this, the incidents of 43,054 child marriages were reported in 2021 while the number was 101 in 2020. A total of 1,882 reports in 2021 showed that 45,480 children were affected in multiple incidents including child marriage.

MJF executive director Shaheen Anam conducted the event while MJF programme coordinator Rafeza Shaheen presented the report.

Additional secretary of women and children affairs ministry Md Muhibuzzaman said the awareness campaign by the government has been disrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All have to work jointly to establish a society against criminal activities. He urged the newspapers to highlight the positive activities of the government to raise the awareness among the people.

Quoting a report of a project conducted by women and children affairs ministry compiling the news of 15 dailies, he said a total of 1,941 incidents over sexual abuse and 1,947 over physical assaults were reported in media in 2021. Among them, 52 deaths reported in the incidents of sexual harassment while 1,032 deaths in physical harassment.

MJF report said a good number of children are being raped by their neighbours alongside those close to the family. However, teenagers are subjected to rape engaging in relationship while school and madrasa students are being raped by their respective teachers.

The report said a total of 38 domestic helps were raped in 2021. Of them, 12 died and four were killed.

Speaking on the occasion, Mahbuba Bilkis, deputy secretary of ministry of labour and employment, said a policy was formulated in 2015 for the protection of domestic workers. Unfortunately, such torture continues unabated due to the lack of social awareness.

She said the national action plan of the government has been finalised in eliminating the child labour.

Shahana Huda, MJF senior coordinator, said child repression has increased in most of the cases compared to the 2020. Children from all types of families are subjected to sexual harassment. But many children even don’t realise that they are being assaulted sexually.

MJF executive director Shaheen Anam said although there are many effective laws in protecting children, there is a lacking of government monitoring. Social degradation is on the rise due to the availability of pornography. This has led to the increase of violence against women and children.

She called upon all to work together for the protection of children's rights.

Why children commit suicide 

According to the dailies, 78 children killed self in 2021. Of them, 57 are boys and 21 girls. Failure in the examination, deceived in relationship, anger on families, teased by someone, raped or attempted to rape and impunity of rapists are held responsible for pushing children to commit suicide.

Besides, a total of 74 newborn babies found abandoned in the year with 570 drowned and 38 missing. In 2020, as many as 22 children were subjected to abduction and missing.