MONGOLIA / YOUTH CRIME

09-Aug-2008 00:08:29
Sixteen-year-old Basaanjav lived in a manhole in Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator for eight years. Many rural migrants lead marginalized lives, sometimes setting up their yurts, or Mongolian tents, wherever they find an empty space in the city. Tough times have led some teenagers like Basaanjav to turn to crime and when they are caught, they face a harsh justice system. UNTV
Size
Format
Acquire
N/A
Hi-Res formats
DESCRIPTION
STORY: MONGOLIA / YOUTH CRIME
TRT: 8.29
SOURCE: UNTV
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / MONGOLIAN / NATS

DATELINE: RECENT, MONGOLIA
SHOTLIST
1. Various shots, nature scenes of Mongolia
2. Various shots, Ulan Bator city scenes with yurts among buildings
3. Various shots, Basaanjav getting into manhole
4. Pan left, Basaanjav and brother sitting by candle underground
5. Close up, Basaanjav searching garbage bag
6. Close up, Basaanjav counting money
7. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"Sometimes we just can't find any food or any bottles or cans."
8. Pan right, billiard table to Enkhbold playing billiard
9. Tilt down, sign to entrance of "Power Music Club"
10. Med shot, Enhkbold playing computer games
11. Close up, Enhkbold
12. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Enkhbold, teenager:
"I would never have stolen if my father were alive."
13. Tracking shot, Enkhbold walking outdoors
14. Med shot, Basaanjav and his brother lying down to sleep underground
15. Med shot, boy climbing out of manhole
16. Close up, lid of manhole being closed, from below
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"Alcohol, unemployment, poverty and violence have pushed the children outside the household."
18. Med shot, Desmoulins at desk in UNICEF office
19. Various shots, children on streets of Ulan Bator
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"And those children have de facto no supervision. The issue is no one is caring for them. And this is really the greatest challenge that is happening in 21st century Mongolia."
21. Wide shot, cattle herder on horseback
22. Med shot, bright signs in city by night
23. Med shot, three women talking
24. Various shots, rural Mongolia
25. Wide shot, herding camels
26. Various shots, statues and other sights in Mongolia
27. Various shots, street and market
28. Wide shot, construction workers at work on top of building
29. Wide shot, building under construction
30. Pan left, snowy mountains
31. Med shot, dead animal
32. Wide shot, Ulan Bator
33. Various shots, camel herders
34. Various shots, buildings and yurts in poor district of Ulan Bator
35. Med shot, Basaanjav tidying up and other child warming hands by candle underground
36. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"After I was born, my mother left me with my stepfather without even breastfeeding me. My stepfather didn't want me either and left me with my grandparents."
37. Close up, Basaanjav rubbing his hands
38. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"He would drink with his friends and when he was drunk, he started to beat me."
39. Close up, Basaanjav crying
40. Med shot, Enkhbold entering his shack
41. Various shots, still photos of Enkhbold's family
42. Pan left, Enkhbold getting a cup of tea from his mother
43. Tracking shot, Enkhbold walking outdoors
44. Med shot, Enkhbold playing billiard
45. Med shot, Enkhbold playing computer games
46. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Enkhbold, teenager:
"Video games keep me from thinking about my father's death."
47. Tracking shot, Enkhbold walking with other kids
48. Med shot, Basaanjav underground
49. Close up, Basaanjav
50. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"I am afraid of going to jail. The kids I hang out with tend to steal."
51. Med shot, street children
52. Med shot, kids behind a window, looking through it into a living room
53. Close up, metal gate with a gap through which the courtyard of a house is visible
54. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"I have a small body. They want to use me and would force me to go through the windows of grocery stores. I usually sneak away from them."
55. Med shot, Basaanjav sitting on bed
56. Med shot, policewoman leading kid away
57. Close up, ripped jeans
58. Tracking shot, Enkhbold on street
59. Wide shot, police station
60. Close up, police officer at desk
61. Med shot, jail door
62. Tracking shot, Enkhbold outdoors
63. Wide shot, corridor inside jail
64. Close up, justice emblem
65. Wide shot, girls coming out of building
66. Med shot, police with kids on street
67. Med shot, kids going through jail door
68. Tilt down, jail door
69. SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"With no sunlight, only a light bulb from outside the room…of course no toilet facilities…So their conditions are totally inhumane."
70. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Enkhbold, teenager:
"I was beaten in the jail the first week. The other children were experienced in beating. They bandaged their hands with towel and started beating me on the chest and cheeks. They do this so that no bruises appear on the face or body."
71. Close up, Enkhbold writing in notebook
72. Close up, Enkhbold's mother reading
73. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Oyunchimeg, Enkhbold's mother:
"He wrote in his letters asking, Mom, Why did I commit this crime? I am only 17. I usually cry when I read his letters."
74. Close up, Enkhbold's mother crying
75. Med shot, mother reading
76. Close up, mother flipping through notebook
77. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Tsembelmaa, social worker:
"There is a common attitude among the public and legal institutions, both of which tend to view children who commit crime as forever bad, and so they must be punished and imprisoned."
78. Tracking shot, Tsembelmaa entering room and sitting down with Enkhbold
79. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Tsembelmaa, social worker:
"We work to make sure that children who have committed minor crimes will not be sent to jail during the investigation period."
80. Med shot, Enkhbold cutting wood
81. Various shots, Enkhbold in Prosecutor's office
82. Various shots, Enkhbold with other children eating in centre
83. SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"They are just children who have been very unlucky that nobody was dealing with them. What they need is care and attention, a father and mother to care for them."
84. Various shots, children playing ball outdoors
85. Pan left, kids in class to blackboard
86. Med shot, Enkhbold with Tsembelmaa
87. Med shot, Enkhbold with other kids in centre
88. SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"My grandfather always told me that no matter how hard my life would be, never ever to steal, and not to lie to people."
89. Med shot, Basaanjav jumping through his manhole
STORYLINE
Mongolia, known as the land of blue sky, is a country of wide open steppes, stunning mountains, vast deserts and a cosmopolitan capital city, Ulan Bator. Its rapid modernization has brought prosperity to a few, but also increasing poverty, hitting its young people especially hard.

For the past eight years, this manhole has been home to sixteen-year-old Basaanjav.

In winter, when the temperature drops below zero, the water mains that provide heat to nearby apartment buildings keep him warm. Like other street children, Basaanjav survives on begging and collecting bottles.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"Sometimes we just can't find any food or any bottles or cans."

Seventeen-year-old Enkhbold spends his time playing billiards and video games, and hanging out with his friends. Since his father died, he has very little adult supervision, and has committed petty crimes in order to pay for his games.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Enkhbold, teenager:
"I would never have stolen if my father were alive."

There are thousands of young people like Enkhbold and Basaanjav in Mongolia. Victims of social change, they are at high risk of getting into trouble with the law and facing a harsh juvenile justice system that could keep them behind bars for years.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"Alcohol, unemployment, poverty and violence have pushed the children outside the household."

Bertrand Desmoulins is the UNICEF representative in Mongolia. A UN report says about half of the nation's children are living with unemployed parents, who are unable to provide care and guidance.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"And those children have de facto no supervision. The issue is no one is caring for them. And this is really the greatest challenge that is happening in 21st century Mongolia."

Since 1990, Mongolia, a country of less than three million people, has been struggling through a tough transition. Especially hard hit are the nomadic herders scattered across this vast land between Russia and China.

As the country emerged from 70 years of socialism in which it was closely aligned with the former Soviet Union, the shift to democracy and a market economy has meant the loss of guaranteed income and social welfare benefits for the nation.

Industries have been privatized, and the economy got even worse when severe winter storms in recent years devastated much of Mongolia's livestock. Herders were forced to move into towns in search of new opportunities.

In the last decade, the population in Ulan Bator has nearly doubled to almost a million today. Many are newly arrived rural migrants who lead a marginalized life. Some set up their Gers, or Mongolian tents wherever they find an empty space in the city.

The tough times have left many children homeless, like Basaanjav. Abandoned by his parents, he has been on his own since he was very young. He does not know who his parents are.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"After I was born, my mother left me with my stepfather without even breastfeeding me. My stepfather didn't want me either and left me with my grandparents."

After his grandmother died, Baasanjav went back to live with his stepfather. But not for long.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"He would drink with his friends and when he was drunk, he started to beat me."

At eight years old, Basaanjav had no choice but to leave home and live on the streets.

Enkhbold too spends a lot of time on the streets, but he is not homeless. He grew up in a poor family. His father was disabled by an accident at work and died several years ago, leaving Enkhbold devastated. His mother is now the only one supporting the family.

Feeling lost, Enkhbold started to hang out with friends and became hooked on playing billiards and computer games.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Enkhbold, teenager:
"Video games keep me from thinking about my father's death."

Both Enkhbold and Basaanjav have always feared getting into trouble with the law, but neither boy has been able to avoid it.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"I am afraid of going to jail. The kids I hang out with tend to steal."

For Basaanjav, finding food has been a daily struggle, and he's always under pressure from other children to steal food.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"I have a small body. They want to use me and would force me to go through the windows of grocery stores. I usually sneak away from them."

For years, Basaanjav has managed to escape the police. But he was recently detained for vagrancy, as a minor, and was put in a state-run shelter.

Enkhbold is in a more serious situation, facing a potential sentence of eight years. About a year ago, he was arrested for stealing food from a car. Since it was his first offence, he was not jailed.

But after he was arrested a second time for stealing a cell phone to get money to pay for his video games, Enkhbold was immediately locked up in a small cell with several other children to await trial.

Under Mongolian law, children accused of minor crimes are supposed to be placed under their parents' supervision. But homeless children or repeat offenders like Enkhbold can be kept in detention centers for as long as 18 months before trial.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"With no sunlight, only a light bulb from outside the room…of course no toilet facilities…So their conditions are totally inhumane."

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Enkhbold, teenager:
"I was beaten in the jail the first week. The other children were experienced in beating. They bandaged their hands with towel and started beating me on the chest and cheeks. They do this so that no bruises appear on the face or body."

In detention, Enkhbold often wrote letters to his mother, Oyunchimeg, deeply regretting his actions.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Oyunchimeg, Enkhbold's mother:
"He wrote in his letters asking, Mom, Why did I commit this crime? I am only seventeen. I usually cry when I read his letters."

It's hard for her to accept that her son was locked up in such harsh conditions just for stealing a cell phone.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Tsembelmaa, social worker:
"There is a common attitude among the public and legal institutions, both of which tend to view children who commit crime as forever bad, and so they must be punished and imprisoned."

Tsembelmaa works for a Community Diversion Program that offers juveniles alternatives to detention. The program was created in 2006 by the local government.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Tsembelmaa, social worker:
"We work to make sure that children who have committed minor crimes will not be sent to jail during the investigation period."

After four months in detention, Enkhbold was released to return home to await trial. He hopes that his case will be dropped as the money he stole was returned to the victim.

But the prosecutor will not drop the charges against him. Instead, she downgraded his crimes to less serious, and reduced his sentence from eight to two years in prison.

As for Basaanjav, he remains in the shelter where he can stay only up to six months. After that, if a sponsor cannot be found to send him to vocational school, he will have to return to his abusive step-father... or to the street.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia:
"They are just children who have been very unlucky that nobody was dealing with them. What they need is care and attention, a father and mother to care for them."

In the absence of committed parents, the Mongolian government has stepped up its efforts to work closely with community groups to provide protection and services for children like Enkhbold and Basaanjav.

But for now, Basaanjav has only his grandfather's words to guide him.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) Basaanjav, homeless teenager:
"My grandfather always told me that no matter how hard my life would be, never ever to steal, and not to lie to people."
Category
Source