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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                 

Union of Myanmar (Burma)

Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's increasing oil and gas revenue, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated because of the regime's mismanagement of the economy.

The September 2007 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, including thousands of monks, strained the economy as the tourism industry, which directly employs about 500,000 people, suffered dramatic declines in foreign visitor levels.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Burma

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Burma.  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.


Children’s Day Nothing to Celebrate in Burma

Min Lwin, The Irrawaddy News Magazine, February 13, 2008

[accessed 10 October 2012]

Poverty, the economic crisis and instability in Burma drives more and more children in search of jobs. Some work from 5 a.m. until late at night in tea shops, bars and factories, often earning just 7,000 kyat ($ US5.72) per month. A resident in Rangoon told The Irrawaddy recently that the amount of street children in the former capital is now increasing. “Many children aged between 4 and 13 are begging on the streets. Some young children are carrying babies and begging. Some street children look for plastic in the rubbish bins and dumps and some go fishing every day for their daily survival,” she said. According to reports, sometimes street children who can’t produce ID are recruited into the Burmese army.


*** ARCHIVES ***

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 7 February 2020]

CHILDREN – Children under the age of 18 constituted approximately 40 percent of the population. Children were at high risk as destitute parents took them out of school to beg or to work in factories and teashops. Some were placed in orphanages. With few or no skills, increasing numbers of children worked in the informal economy or in the street, where they were exposed to drugs, petty crime, risk of arrest, sexual abuse and exploitation, and HIV/AIDS.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 24-01-1997

[accessed 25 January 2011]

[10] The Committee, while recognizing the efforts undertaken by the State party in the collection of data, is concerned that the system of data collection does not adequately disaggregate information so as to reflect the situation of all children, particularly those belonging to the most disadvantaged groups, including children belonging to minority groups, children living in remote areas, disabled children, children living and/or working in the street, children placed in institutions, including institutions of a penal nature, ill-treated and abused children or children from economically disadvantaged groups. Such disaggregated data would contribute to the design of policies and programs for the effective and full implementation of the provisions of the Convention

Suffer the children

Danielle Bernstein, Asia Times Online, Yangon, Nov 6, 2010

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Lin Htet Aung is 12 years old, scrappy but small for his age. He came to Yangon from Sagaing division north of Mandalay, more than a day's journey from the rest of his family. He works all day every day in one of the former capital's ubiquitous teashops, slinging cups of thick sweet tea and plates of pastries for 10,000 kyats per month (about US$10), low by many standards about more than most of Myanmar's child laborers. 

"I sleep right here in the shop," Lin Htet Aung says, pointing to a small table in a filthy corner of the smoky shop. The long hours aren't the worst part of his job, which he's held for nearly two years. 

"I don't like working here because they beat me sometimes, but I'm not a bad kid," he said. I'll be going back home in a few months, so I'm very happy. I probably won't go back to school when I go home, but I don't mind."

Economic Crisis Fueling Child Labor, Trafficking

Saw Yan Naing, The Irrawaddy, December 18, 2007

[accessed 28 August 2012]

The economic crisis and instability in Burma is driving waves of Burmese children into hard labor, begging and the sex trade, claims exiled Burmese rights groups.

Meanwhile, the results of child trafficking has had a huge impact on the education of many Burmese migrant children, forcing the children into hard labor in factories, sweat shops and even into the sex trade, according to Burmese migrant education groups.  Many victims under the age of 18 have become street beggars and sex workers instead of studying at school, said Paw Ray, the chairperson of the BMWEC, which operates nearly 50 schools for children of Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot.

Myanmar rebel group denies child soldier claims

Agence France-Presse AFP, Bangkok, Nov 25, 2007

[accessed 25 January 2011]

In a statement released Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that both the military government and rebel groups continued to violate children's rights by recruiting underage soldiers.  Citing a recent UN report, he said that the government was picking up street children or those without national identity cards and offering them the choice of arrest or joining the army.

Myanmar's military government officially denies using child soldiers and has passed a law to outlaw the practice.  But human rights groups say child soldiers in Myanmar remain alarmingly common, with boys as young as 12 recruited to fight the ethnic rebel armies in the country's border regions. htsc

Information about Street Children - Myanmar {DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for East and South East Asia on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 12-14 March 2003, Bangkok, Thailand

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

75% initial enrolment in primary school of which 25% drop out in 1st and 2nd year.  Less than 50% of those remaining will complete primary school and fewer still will graduate to secondary school.  Definitions and statistics:  World Vision Myanmar has worked with almost 2,000 children over the past five years in two drop-in centers.  The government established ten training schools for boys and girls around the country.  Many of these children could be classified as street children.

Children Find Refuge From Harsh Life On The Streets

[Last access date unavailable]

Their deaths left eight children in an extremely precarious situation. With no income and no social welfare system to fall back on, the children had to fend for themselves. As their situation worsened, both boys abandoned school. They could no longer pay the school fees, or cover the cost of school uniforms, books and lunches. Their other siblings also needed them to earn money. 
San Aung says he would have liked to be a doctor They live on the streets of Yangon, trying to scrape together a living by working, stealing, or scavenging among the leftovers at one of the city’s main markets.

Child Soldiers In Myanmar's Front Line

Marianne Bray, Cable News Network CNN, Hong Kong, June 13, 2001

[accessed 12 April 2011]

[accessed 24 November 2016]

HUMAN SHIELDS - While some children are recruited voluntarily for Myanmar's armed forces, others, especially orphans and street children are vulnerable to what is called "forced recruitment.  Under this scheme, local authorities in Myanmar are required to provide the government with a certain quota of recruits, the report says, and are fined if they fail.  A lot of these children are street children.

Chapter 3 - Nature and Extent of the Problem

The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization SEAMEO

[accessed 12 April 2011]

3.1 CHILD LABOR EXPLOITATION IN MEKONG SUBREGION - In Myanmar, there are visibly street children in Yangoon. Approximately more than 100 children, many of whom were apparently under 10 years of age, were present around the central market areas at communities the Thai research team made visits to.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Street Children - Myanmar (Burma)",, [accessed <date>]