Child Protection Laws in Bangladesh

Child Protection Laws in Bangladesh

Initially, a child is an individual who has not reached puberty. Legally speaking, a child is typically defined as a minor, which is another term for a person younger than a major.

Regardless of anything contained in any other law of different, for the purpose of this Act, under 18 (eighteen) years of age and all persons shall be treated as children (Section 4, Children Act, 2013) is how The Children Act, 2013 in Bangladesh is written.

In a similar vein, minors are defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as those who are younger than 18. The Court of Ward (amendment) Act of 2006 states that any kid who is eighteen years old may decide to sell or claim the property that they should inherit.

Although, there are more than 35 laws that seek to protect children from negligence, cruelty, exploitation and abuse and to promote their development. The Children Act, 1974 is the principal law that provides for care, protection and treatment of children of both as victims and as accused and specifies the empowerment of children as its first guiding principle.

Its main objectives are to ensure children’s protection and treatment. It imposes various duties and obligations upon the state. The Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 has replaced the Employment of Children’s Act, 1938; Factories Act, 1965 and The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933.


The regulatory framework protecting children in Bangladesh involves a combination of laws, policies and institutions aimed at safeguarding their rights and well-being. Here is an overview:


  1. Constitutional Provisions: The Constitution of Bangladesh includes provisions safeguarding the rights of children, including the right to education, healthcare and protection from exploitation.


  1. Laws and Legislation: Bangladesh has enacted several laws specifically focused on protecting children, such as:


The Children Act (2013): This comprehensive law addresses various aspects of children’s rights and protection, including child labor, trafficking and abuse.

The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act (2010): Provides protection to children against domestic violence.

The Penal Code (1860): Includes provisions related to offenses against children, such as abduction, kidnapping and sexual abuse.

The Prevention of Child Marriage Act (2017): Aims to prevent child marriages and protect the rights of children, particularly girls.

The Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (1933): Addresses trafficking of children for sexual exploitation.

  1. National Policies and Programs: Bangladesh has formulated national policies and programs focusing on child welfare and development. These policies often address issues such as education, healthcare, nutrition and protection from exploitation.


  1. Government Institutions and Agencies: Several government agencies are responsible for implementing and enforcing laws related to child protection. These include the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Education and the Department of Labour.



  1. International Commitments: Bangladesh is a signatory to various international conventions and treaties related to children’s rights, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The government is obligated to uphold the principles outlined in these conventions and integrate them into domestic laws and policies.


  1. Civil Society and NGOs: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups play a significant role in complementing government efforts to protect children. They often provide services such as education, healthcare, shelter and legal assistance to vulnerable children.


Despite these efforts, challenges remain, including poverty, inadequate access to education, healthcare, child labor, child marriage and trafficking. Continuous efforts from both the government and civil society are essential to address these challenges and ensure the effective protection of children’s rights in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, the protection of children is a paramount concern, reflecting the nation’s commitment to ensuring the well-being and rights of its youngest citizens. While the country lacks a singular “Child Protection Act,” a comprehensive framework of laws, policies and initiatives collectively addresses various aspects of child welfare.


The Children Act, 2013 stands as a cornerstone in Bangladesh’s efforts to protect its children. Enacted to safeguard children’s rights and well-being, this legislation addresses a wide array of issues, including child labor, trafficking and abuse. It emphasizes the establishment of special courts for expeditious trial of offenses against children, highlighting the government’s dedication to swift justice for juvenile victims.


Moreover, another critical piece of legislation is The Prevention of Child Marriage Act, 2017, designed to curb the practice of child marriage, particularly prevalent in rural areas, this Act sets the legal age of marriage at 18 for females and 21 for males. By criminalizing child marriages and imposing penalties on offenders, the law aims to shield vulnerable children, especially girls, from the adverse consequences of early marriage, such as limited education opportunities and increased health risks.


On top of that, addressing the scourge of domestic violence, The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010 plays a crucial role in safeguarding children within the family unit. While primarily focused on protecting women, this Act extends protection to children, shielding them from physical, emotional and psychological harm perpetrated within the household. By recognizing the interconnectedness of familial violence and its impact on children, the law underscores the need for comprehensive protection mechanisms.


Furthermore, The Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act, 1933 and The Penal Code, 1860 contain provisions pertinent to child protection. These laws combat the heinous crimes of child trafficking, abduction and sexual abuse, ensuring perpetrators face severe penalties for exploiting innocent children.

Despite the legislative strides, challenges persist in translating legal provisions into tangible protection on the ground. Socio-economic disparities, inadequate resources and cultural practices continue to pose hurdles in effectively safeguarding children’s rights.

Additionally, the fragmented nature of the legal framework necessitates cohesive coordination among government agencies, civil society organizations and communities to ensure comprehensive protection for all children.

In conclusion, Bangladesh’s commitment to child protection is reflected in its robust legal framework and concerted efforts to address the multifaceted challenges facing its youth. While legislative measures provide a solid foundation, sustained action, collaboration and resource allocation are imperative to translate legal provisions into meaningful protection, nurturing a future where every child can thrive and realize their full potential.


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