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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                           

Argentine Republic (Argentina)

With the election of President Mauricio MACRI in November 2015, Argentina began a historic political and economic transformation, as his administration took steps to liberalize the Argentine economy, lifting capital controls, floating the peso, removing export controls on some commodities, cutting some energy subsidies, and reforming the country’s official statistics. Argentina negotiated debt payments with holdout bond creditors, continued working with the IMF to shore up its finances, and returned to international capital markets in April 2016.

In 2017, Argentina’s economy emerged from recession with GDP growth of nearly 3.0%. The government passed important pension, tax, and fiscal reforms. And after years of international isolation.

  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2021]

Description: Description: Description: Argentina

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Argentina.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Thousands of kids struggle on the streets of Buenos Aires

Alejandra Labanca, Miami Herald, Buenos Aires, December 1, 2006

[partially accessed 29 March 2011]

[partially accessed 21 November 2016]

A slim, red burn crosses the left side of Víctor's face from cheekbone to forehead. His eyelid is burnt. His lower eyelashes are gone, charred to the rim of his eye.  Only 3 ½ months old, Víctor faces a tough life.  ''He got burnt with a pipe,'' says his 16-year-old mother, Marta, referring matter of factly to the pipe she uses to smoke paco, a cheap, highly toxic byproduct of cocaine refining.

With her baby in tow, Marta lives on the streets, begging and stealing, seeking shelter in dark porches or under trees. They rarely spend two nights in the same place. Many times they don't even spend them together. They eat what she can get, when she can get it.  Marta and Víctor embody the plight of the most vulnerable of Argentines, the street children of Buenos Aires, a city struggling to come to grips with in-your-face misery since the 2001 economic meltdown led the country to the largest debt default in history and plunged more than half of all Argentines into poverty


*** ARCHIVES ***

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 19 January 2011]

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The National Council for Childhood, Adolescence, and Family (CONNAF), a federal government agency, works with local governments and NGOs to provide services for and protect the rights of children who have been sexually exploited or are at risk of exploitation.  In Buenos Aires, the government operates a network that conducts awareness campaigns and attempts to identify child victims of trafficking.  CONNAF also operates a national program to assist street children.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 4 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Education is free and compulsory for 10 years, beginning at age 5. Although a 2001 government survey reported school attendance rates between 92 percent (at age 5) to 97 percent (ages 13 to 14), an appraisal by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development stated that of 100 students entering primary school, 84 would enter the seventh grade, and 40 would enter the last year of secondary school. Attendance rates were lowest among children from low-income households. Access to schooling was limited in some rural areas of the country.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] In 2004 the National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labor (CONAETI) estimated that up to 1.5 million children, or 22 percent of the children under the age of 15, worked in some capacity. Most illegal child labor took place in the informal sector, where inspectors had limited ability to enforce the law. Child labor in urban zones included such work as small-scale garment production, trash recycling, street sales, domestic service, and food preparation. Children also were involved in prostitution, sex tourism, and drug trafficking.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, April 10, 2002

[accessed 19 January 2011]

[29] The Committee is concerned that the principle of non-discrimination is not fully implemented for children living in poverty, indigenous children, children of migrant workers, primarily those from neighboring countries, street children, children with disabilities and marginalized adolescents who are neither studying nor working, especially with regard to their access to adequate health care and educational facilities.

In Argentina: Chabad Child-Care Program Earns UNICEF, UNESCO Acclaim

B. Olidort, Lubavitch News Service LNS, Buenos Aires, December 31, 2007

[accessed 29 March 2011]

When Eduardo was six years old, he couldn’t tell you that. He didn’t know what you to do with a fork or spoon. He’d never eaten at a table. He’d never eaten a cooked meal. Eduardo had a swollen, infected sore on his foot, but refused to remove his shoe. When anyone approached him, he threw his hands up over his head as if he was expecting a beating.

Locked up at home by a violent father and non-responsive mother, Eduardo’s life was on a downward spiral from the moment of his birth. Sooner or later, social services would find him, and place him in one of the city’s reform institutions. Then, if things took their predictable course, Eduardo would break out of there and join the other ragamuffins on the streets of Buenos Aires. If he could learn the art of petty theft without getting caught, Eduardo might even count himself lucky.  Eduardo was on his way to becoming another one among the thousands in Argentina’s tragic statistics.

The street children of Buenos Aires

Peter Andrew Bosch, Miami Herald, Nov. 27, 2006

[accessed 16 January 2017]

• More than 3,000 children — twice as many as in 2001 — wander the streets begging, scrounging through trash or opening cab doors for some change. Most have somewhere to go at day’s end, but 700 sleep on the streets every night.

• 75 percent are boys, 25 percent are girls.

• 30 percent of their fathers and 70 percent of their mothers are out of work.

• About 30 percent to 40 percent say they left home to escape poverty or domestic abuse and violence.

Games Help Street Teens Learn

Roberto Belo, BBC in Buenos Aires, 12 October 2004

[accessed 29 March 2011]

Street children in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires are learning new skills, thanks to their passion for video games

Argentina's Social Situation

Felices Los Ninos Foundation

[accessed 10 October 2012]

STREET CHILDREN IN THE CITY OF BUENOS AIRES - The number of homeless and street children increased by 50% in the last year.  Seventy-five percent of these children come from the Greater Buenos Aires suburbs and attend school sporadically, just the minimum number of days that are required by law. In fact, they are functional illiterates

CHILD LABOR - Seventy-five percent are children aged 6 – 12 and 70% collect garbage; others clean cars or sell whatever they can. Forty percent drop out of school because they have to work.

Thousands of Children Need Our Help

Father Julio Cesar Grassi, Founder, Felices Los Ninos Foundation

[accessed 10 October 2012]

Cold official data on the Argentine reality show a two-fold increase during the past two years in the number of kids and teenagers who spend the day begging, working or wasting their golden years of childhood in the street instead of studying, playing with friends at home or practicing sports. One half of the Argentine population is poor... and there they are, "the poorest among the poor": the children.

The problem of these kids is manifold: they grow up too soon towards a kind of maturity they are not yet ready to live, they compromise their future because they are potentially illiterate, they will not study or will drop out of school, they will be undernourished and have their physical and emotional development reduced or impaired, they will starve and beg in the streets under the indifference of others and they will be chronically unemployed. These children are not aware of the fact that they have less possibilities and no opportunities, and that their rights are encroached.

Fear For Safety/ Death Threats: Marcelino Altamirano

Amnesty International, Index Number: AMR 13/015/2003, 8 September 2003

[accessed 29 March 2011]

Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of Marcelino Altamirano, coordinator of the street children’s home La Casita del Puente Afectivo (The Little House of the Bridge of Affection) in the city of Mendoza. He has been harassed on several occasions and has received threatening telephone calls.

Complaints of Abuse in Police Custody

Lutheran World Information LWI, Buenos Aires, 25 October 2001

[accessed 29 March 2011]

An order on police to routinely round up street children and beggars in Buenos Aires Province has been suspended following protests by the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (UELC) and other sections of civil society in Argentina.

Training in the Exercise and Recognition of the Rights of Children

[access information unavailable]

ACC provides training to minors and young people about their rights, helping to protect them particularly from abuse of authority and police violence within the framework of articles 2, 4, and 6 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (ICRC) and recognized by Argentine Legislation, Law 23.592.

TOOLS OF HOPE: Adding Leaven to Young Lives

Church World Service, Stories of Hope, February 26, 2007

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

At "La Casita," abandoned or marginalized young people in Buenos Aires, Argentina, are gaining not only self-acceptance, but are also learning bread making, meal preparation, and catering -- skills that offer future employment possibilities.

Graduations at Bruce Argentina Children's Centres, August 2004

Bruce Peru, August 2004

[accessed 29 March 2011]

We graduated many of our children already in school, to make way for the children we are beating the back streets and hedgerows to find. The reasons the children we are looking for are not in school are three: extreme poverty, abusive parents or abandonment.

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