A four-column box item published in this newspaper's yesterday issue manifests a gloomy picture of exploitation, mistreatment and humiliation of Dhaka's street children that they face at every step of their day-to-day existence. They are visible on the busy city streets, but they are often ignored by the passers-by who have no time to show little sympathy towards them. Whether people take notice of their plight or not, it is a shame for the entire nation that has achieved freedom through a bloodbath and sacrifice of 30,000 martyrs.
Abandoned, casted off, discarded, rejected and thrown out of the mainstream, around 2.5 million street kids countrywide endure deprivation and rights violations, with little regard given to their best interest. These children are escaping from poverty, inadequate housing, broken families, domestic violence, displacement and natural disasters. They take to the streets because there is simply nowhere else to go. Once on the street they are destined to suffer from discrimination and stigmatization. Most often, they are seen collecting rubbish for recycling, scavenging rubbish dumps, shining shoes, selling flowers, magazines and newspapers, and sometimes engaging in street crimes like selling drugs and petty theft, et cetera. They are frequently forced into such activities by organised gangs who are not visible to the public. Lots of others make their ends meet by begging.