Dhaka- Bangladesh on Thursday launched a helpline short-code, 1098, for protection of the children as the South Asian country witnessed a number of cruel incidents on children over the past years.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the nationwide coverage of the first toll-free child helpline to provide a free telephone service to the children facing violence, abuse and exploitation.
The helpline enables anyone to report child rights violations, child abuse, exploitation or any other act of disruption to the protection of children by calling the toll free number “1098” from any corner of the country through any mobile phone operator.
“Whenever and wherever the children fall in danger or any kinds of problems, they will call the number and ask their helps and they will be offered instant supports by call. The 1098 helpline service would be very safe and well-protected for them,” Hasina said launching the short-code at her official Ganabhaban residence.
The short-code was launched at a time when a five-year old girl is undergoing treatment at a Dhaka hospital after she was raped and tortured in northern district of Dinajpur recently.
The Prime Minister said everyone can complain violation of children rights, incidents of torture, and social facilities to the helpline round the clock.
The authorities will take action immediately according to the information, she said issuing an warning against misuse of the short-code and false information.
The helpline will provide protection against child abuses at homes, schools, workplaces, institutions and in public areas, said Hasina.
The child helpline has been introduced with the financial and technical support from the United Nations Children’s Fund. It is administered under the guidance of Social Welfare Department of the Ministry of Social Welfare.
Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed; Supreme Court Appellate Division Judge Imman Ali, Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare Md. Zillar Rahman; acting CEO of Grameen Phone, Yasir Azman and Ms. Sara Bordas Eddy on behalf of UNICEF Bangladesh attended the launching programme among others.