Street Children

The Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

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The early years of the 21st Century                                                                         

CAUTION: There is always a risk in posting links to external websites.  Some of the following links may possibly lead to websites that present information that is unsubstantiated or even false.  Their authenticity has not been verified and their content has not been validated.

Breaking ties with the street

Vivian Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, June 9 2008

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Fundu Shezi (nicknamed "Bandlani") has just turned 20. He has spent more than half his life on the streets of Durban. His skull and face are badly scarred and there is an aura of great sadness about him.

"When I was a baby my mother did not want me," he says.  "She threw me into an open sewer at Umlazi. A social worker found me and took me to the police. They put me in the Ocean View Children's Home.  "Later I went to a foster mom, but I was unhappy. She took the government grant, but was unkind about my mother. She was looking after five children, but she drank a lot. I was with her from six years old and when I was 10 I went on the streets.  "As I grew up, I started to smoke cigarettes, and then zol (dagga). I became addicted to glue on the streets. When I came here I decided to leave those things.  "I have been told that I have a brother and a sister who live in a place of safety. I would like to meet them one day. I have a lot of anger towards my mother for throwing me away. I dream about it all the time. How could she do that? I have so many questions.

Marie Paule's story: Surviving life on the streets of Kinshasa

Joyce Brandful, United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, KINSHASA DRC, 22 June 2006

[accessed 22 August 2011]

The girls were saved from being burnt alive when a vigilant neighbour alerted police. That night, however, they were thrown out of the uncle's house – and that's when their life on the streets began.

Bolivia: Abandoned Street Children Turn To Drugs

Christian B. Schaeffler, Editor-in-chief, Adventist Press Service APD, Sucre Bolivia, December 31, 1998

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Enrique, a typical 11-year-old Bolivian boy, was one of these street children.  "I slept on the streets, but I was always hungry and needed to feed my addictions," Enrique says.

Prior to living on the streets, Enrique lived with his grandparents.  He was physically abused by his grandmother and, after many beatings, ran away from home.

Rebecca's Story

Rebeccas Community

[accessed 22 August 2011]

"Two things happened when I turned 12, my Father who used to beat the hell out of us left home and the other thing that happened is I started using drugs... One of my friends said 'Here try this it will make you feel better', and it did.  When I turned 13, my Mum found a new partner who lived at home with us. He raped me regularly and abused my younger sisters as well. I was only 13.

Homeless People - Jazmin's Story

Rebeccas Community

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Jazmin was raised by her alcoholic father for the first eight years of her life and foster parents until she was 12 years old.  She ran away from foster care to escape a foster father who was violent.  Living on the streets using whatever drugs or alcohol she could get her hands on to escape her pain, Jazmin was using heavily when she became pregnant at 15.

"Social Cleansing" Of Children

Human Rights Watch/Americas,GENERATION UNDER FIRE - Children and Violence in Colombia

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Frankie has been on the street since he was eight years old and has survived three "social cleansing" attempts on his life.  Now a convicted murderer at twenty-three, he says that his mother died of an illegal abortion and his father was killed in the service of a drug trafficker.

Children without childhood

Lua Viet 1995 Magazine

[accessed 22 August 2011]

This is T., a three-year-boy whose mother was a streetwalker who died recently leaving him on a street corner. No one knew her, except that she had wandered to Hue from another province somewhere in the South.  This is H...

The Amani Children

Amani Children’s Home

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Each child rescued by Amani has his or her own unique story. All of the children have their own special talents, interests and dreams for their future. You can learn more about the children who call Amani home here.

Honduran president addresses child murders

A.M. Costa Rica, Vol. 2, No. 200, TEGUCIGALPA Honduras, Oct. 9, 2002

[accessed 22 August 2011]

[scroll down]

After two weeks of intense international attention to the issue, as well as a U.N. report demonstrating the killing of homeless children by the police, the President promised to reduce "in the shortest time possible" the assassination of children in this Central American nation.

Collins had been living on the street for over a year

1st African Clothing, a project of the non-profit organization, Expanding Opportunities

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Collins Kipkoech is 12 years old. He never knew his father. He ran away from his home because he was continuously abused. His mother would come to find him and bring him home where he would be severely abused again.

Give me 5 shillings

Expanding Opportunities

[accessed 22 August 2011]

The ragged dirty boy held out his hand. My heart tried to ignore him. But there he was standing in front of me. I shake my head and move on, a bundle of mixed emotions.  I didn't have any change but that wasn't the real reason. We were told not to give them money. They would only go buy glue to sniff.

Meet Fernando, Just One Street Kid in Mexico City

Ann M. Augherton, Catholic Herald Managing Editor, 11/20/2003,2986

[accessed 22 August 2011]

He is a con-man, a beggar, an entrepreneur and perhaps the mayor of his "little town." His town is Plaza Francisco Zarco, a square in Mexico City, dedicated to a famous 19th-century Mexican journalist.  Fernando, a bright-eyed 13-year-old who looks much younger than his age, is one of countless children who make their home on the streets of Mexico City.  Fernando’s life story is simple. He left his home in Oaxaca at age 7, and made the five-hour ride to Mexico City with his brother in a pick-up truck, leaving behind the rest of his 20-member family.

Help For Ukraine's Street Kids, From Two US Women

Arie Farnam, The Christian Science Monitor, KIEV UKRAINE, 8 Apr 2002

[accessed 22 August 2011]

In the narrow space around the pipes in a Kiev sewer, 15 ragged children sleep huddled together for warmth. They range from 9-year-old Artyom Selivanov, the tough ringleader, to 16-year-old Natasha Dzuley, who crouches in a corner, clutching a small cloth doll.

From the Field - Stories from Street Children in Peru

[access information unavailable]

We all slept in a garden.  They started smoking and told me to try it, but I had heard that smoking glue is bad and told them no.  They insisted and called me a sissy for not trying it, but I didn't pay attention and kep sleeping.  Then they started smoking marijuana with coca base paste.  They wanted me to try that, too.  I wanted to, but I had a friend named Posheco who liked me, and he told them not to give my any, so they stopped insisting.  I had other friends who stole things, and their girlfriends were or are prostitutes.  I started hanging out with them and learned to steal things.

Gish's Journal

Rebeccas Community

[accessed 22 August 2011]

I'm 26 years old and have lived on the streets since I was 6 years old. A year ago I moved into Rebecca’s Community 'Hospitality House.' This website chronicles my life journey through foster care, homelessness, drug addiction, prison and my new life off drugs and off the streets.

Rape fades to normality - Melissa's Story

Rebeccas Community

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Melissa has been treated like a toilet all her life, as a child, as a teenage girl and now as a woman she has been raped sometimes daily by whatever male wants to use her.

Adolphine’s Story

War Child Australia

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Adolphine is a 13 year old girl who set out on foot with her parents to escape the brutal fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  During her journey both her parents died.  She was left alone and homeless in one of the largest primary rainforests in the world.  Attacked and abused along the way, she endured with courage until she finally reached Kinshasa - a walk of 2,500km.

Street Freedom - Pakistan

Mohammad Anwar, DAWN, 12 December 2002

[accessed 22 August 2011]

Thirteen year-old Zahid spends his nights at Cantt railway station in Karachi. He makes his living selling whatever waste paper and bottles he can collect and is desperate to find shelter, not to mention someone who would care for him.  Zahid has been on the streets for three years. "I have nobody. I came to Karachi with an uncle who promised me a job, but I was left here to fend for myself."

A toolkit for life: Fixing Francis' future

Ngabohl Kodkandji, United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, 22 December 2004

[accessed 22 August 2011]

The children stayed with their father, a policeman, who has not remarried. On a policeman's wage the family struggled to survive. Francis recounts his descent into poverty and misery: "My parents divorced and, after that, my father was hardly ever at home. That all affected me badly. But I also mixed with the wrong crowd, and that's how I ended up on the streets."  For a while, this became a way of life for Francis. Once or twice - he doesn't remember how many times exactly - he tried to go back to his father but he wasn't welcome there any more.

True Stories - Street children in Malawi

Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa MSOLA

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 17 June 2011]

Emmanuel problems with stealing / Maloyano stole food / Doreen, an orphan accused of witchcraft./ Nakiline, an adolescent mother, raped /

Real Lives - Azerbaijan Diary: A Sting In The Tale

Lynn Geldof, United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF

[accessed 2 April 2011]

“We have regular customers who park their cars and we wash them. When they leave work, they pay us." The police don’t hassle them on the proviso that they take 60% of the boys’ earnings. So net profit usually ends up as approximately a dollar per boy per day.  The boys drop in and out of school. Ridicule appears to be a feature of the alienation process. "They jeer at me for not having a change of clothes. Even the principal told me not to come to school if I didn’t wear the right clothes"

Ralph Fiennes’ visit to Kyrgyzstan - October 2003

United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, 6th October 2003

[accessed 21 August 2015]

MONDAY 6TH OCTOBER - His father was drunk, had beaten up the mother, destroyed the home. Andrey had run away and was living the wild migrant gypsy existence on the streets. Eventually, the young people from the center took Andrey back to his mother. And this woman, confronted with her son, was clearly wounded and bereft, and at a loss as to how to take care of him. She let him go to an orphanage rather than taking him back. Now he’s back on the street.

Children with Nowhere to Go

Ulugbek Babakulov - Central Asia, RCA Issue 101, 21 Feb 2005

[accessed 21 August 2015]

His parents, he said, had tried to put him into an orphanage in his home village, complaining that they couldn't afford to look after him. When he had been refused, they tried to palm him off at the local police station but were turned away again.  At this point, Slava says, his mother and father just abandoned him before leaving for Russia with his youngest sister.

Ex–street kids thrive in doc

Pieta Woolley,, April 27, 2006

[accessed 22 April 2011]

And there's Christin. Her mom, who often left her three children alone in a house with no food, died of a heroin overdose at 27. As a teen, Christin begged jail staff to keep her there, but she was released to the street over and over again. She is now studying to graduate high school and raising her toddler-aged son.

Indian street kids offer glimpse into their lives

Parul Gupta, Agence France-Presse AFP, May 11, 2006

[accessed 2 March 2015]

Javed Khan left his village home at the age of nine to see monuments in the Indian capital New Delhi where the bustling railway station was to be home for the next seven years.

During that time, Khan lived in an empty sewer, went without food for five days, was stabbed, reported to a gang leader of street children and saw his friends lose their lives to alcohol and drug addiction.