DVD shops do brisk business with ‘indecent’ videos featuring children
Videos featuring children indecently dressed and acting out inappropriate adult behaviors have now become available with DVD shops around the country but the law appears unable to prohibit their manufacture or sales.
There are concerns that the videos, which some have called ‘perverted,’ not only degrade the moral values of the children involved in them but also ultimately incite increased sexual har assment and other crimes against adolescent women.
Shop owners told New Age that the videos, which show children lip-synching and dressing up in skimpy adult clothing and dancing songs which are only suitable for much older women, are in great demand.
A number of shopkeepers admitted that DVDs could increase society’s sexual crimes but argued that it was too good a business for them to stop.
‘It is a profitable business and why should we stop? The law enforcement agencies have never asked us to stop selling them. They only ask us to stop selling porn videos,’ told one owner.
Mustafa Manowar, a painter who is popular to children as he introduced puppets in Bangladesh Television, said that such ‘abusive’ videos should be stopped and the government should take proper steps immediately.
‘Whatever is done for children or done by children should be done in a proper way, in a child friendly way that would ensure their natural growth,’ told Mustafa.
Child rights expert and jurist Shahdeen Malik that said that to stop such abuse, the government could amend the Children Act. ‘These sections would define the offense and prohibit such videos.’
The draft Children Act which is now in the law ministry for vetting has no particular sections regarding such ‘indecent exposure.’
The draft states that its purpose is to ensure the protection, care and proper development of the children and Section 31(Tha) of the draft further stipulates that the state will ensure special protection and care for those children ‘who may fall in bad company or may face moral degradation.’
Article 7 of the children policy 2011 says that the government will take necessary steps to ensure proper development of the children, particularly during adolescence, and to protect children from
being any part of commercial exploitation, including prostitution.
Article 8 of the policy further said that the government will ensure a decent workplace environment for children and ensure that that children will not be a subject to any ‘disrespectful work.’
Bangladesh as a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Children 1989 also has responsibility to protect children from being a part of commercial exploitation and has the duty to enact laws to prohibit any acts that hinders proper development of children.
The women and children affairs secretary, Tariq-Ul-Islam, however, told New Age that he was ‘unaware about such exposure.’
Chance of inclusion of sections regarding such exposure in the Children Act is quite low now, he said.
‘Nonetheless, I will try to raise the issue to incorporate this in the Children Act,’ he added. ‘Otherwise, we can try to incorporate this in the next amended version of the Repression against Women and Children (Special Enactment) Act.’ He, however could not say when the amendment might be done.
Sociologist Sadeka Halim differed with secretary’s remarks and said incorporating articles was still possible although the law is in a process of vetting.
Sadeka, also an information commissioner, pointed out that it was not only private music videos but also private television channels which were exposing children in indecent ways that could be described as ‘vulgar, perverted, sexual exposure of children’ and said such exposure was ‘destroying the spontaneous child like growth’ of the children and branding them (children) as a sexual, sensual object.
Pointing out to the apparent increase in sexual crimes such as harassment and rape, Sadeka Halim, who was a professor of sociology in Dhaka University, also expressed her concern and said, ‘If the issue is not being addressed soon by the government, we have to face a big social disaster, which will ultimately hamper all of us.’