Young people make up a huge proportion of the workforce because they are so cheap to employ, he says. They carry out domestic work for wealthier families and operate lathes in motorcycle repair shops. Wages range from 20 taka (16p) up to 120 taka (£1) for more skilled labourers.
“There are no rules and regulations, no official working hours and no salary structure,” says Alam. “There is no leave, no scope for education and no entertainment.”
Most have no way of saving their earnings, either. “If they ask their employer to look after it, they will often withhold some of it to try and prevent the children leaving their jobs.”
Holding on to the cash can pose even greater risks. Many of the children sleep rough and theft can be rife.
A legal ruling in Bangladesh means that children under 18 need an adult to co-sign an application for a bank account. “These children quite often don’t live with their parents,” says Lundbak. “[Some] have been kicked out from home and they’re living in the street, this simply doesn’t work for them.”
In response to the problem, the charity created Chayabrikhkho in 2007 which allows the children to deposit their money, staffed by the children themselves on a voluntary basis.
I am volunteering as an accountant here – now I know a lot about the banking system”