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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                 

Republic of Burundi

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with more than 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture.

An ethnic-based war that lasted for over a decade resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Only one in two children go to school, and approximately one in 15 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Burundi

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


BURUNDI: Sex and drugs leave Bujumbura's homeless at risk of HIV

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN PlusNews, Bujumbura, 11 July 2007

[accessed 10 March 2015]

Sexual violence is also prevalent, as people living on the streets of Bujumbura are vulnerable to sexual attacks and often have nowhere to turn.  Newcomers to the streets usually seek protection from older, more experienced boys, which often entails entering into a sexual relationship with one's protector.  Olivier Ndimubandi, 12, told IRIN/PlusNews about his humiliating rape by his protector, in the presence of other boys on the street. The attack left him injured, but he said he did not trust the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have offered him support, and had received no medical care.  A spate of violent rapes in the capital in 2005 was blamed on street dwellers, prompting the government to round up all street children and house them in a local rehabilitation centre, but a few months later they were back on the streets.

Travel Warnings And Warden Messages

[Last access date unavailable]

On August 6, 2004, an American citizen was harassed by a group of street children.  While exiting a vehicle, a group of street children attempted to enter the American citizen’s vehicle.  The American citizen reported that the children pounded on the vehicle and were able to open a passenger-side door.  The American citizen escaped without injury.  All U.S. Government personnel and American citizens are advised to exercise caution while traveling on foot on either side of Boulevard de l'UPRONA, from the intersection of Avenue du Congo to the intersection of Chaussee du Peuple Murundi, and in the vicinity of Place de l'Independence.


*** 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 - According to a survey carried out in the beginning of the year and the director of Maison Shalom, at least 230 thousand children were HIV/AIDS orphans (had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS). The ongoing conflict and increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS has increased the number of orphans, which has resulted in an increase in the number of street children. The total number of orphans in the country, including children who were orphaned by causes other than HIV/AIDS, was more than 970 thousand, according to the survey cited by UNICEF. According to the Ministry for National Solidarity, Human Rights, and Gender, there were approximately five thousand street children in the country by year's end. During the year there were reports that police periodically rounded up hundreds of street children and took them to a shelter in the Bujumbura neighbor of Kamenge to be assisted.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 6 October 2000

[accessed 25 January 2011]

[69] The Committee is concerned at the situation of children living and working on the streets and children living on their own and without proper housing in the hills. The Committee is concerned, inter alia, about the poor access of such children to health, education and other services, about reports that the number of children living or working on the streets is continuing to increase, and about the particular vulnerability of girls in these situations.

BURUNDI: FNL rebels 'still recruiting children'

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Bujumbura, 9 June 2008

[accessed 13 April 2011]

Burundi's last active armed opposition group, the Forces nationales de libération (FNL), has continued to recruit children into its ranks despite recent moves to end rebellion, a senior official said.

Drumming up pride among post-war Burundi’s street children

Olalekan Ajia, United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, Bujumbura, Burundi, 9 April 2007

[accessed 13 April 2011]

The war in Burundi left behind 823,000 orphans, at least 20,000 of whom are currently living on the streets.  The Stamm Foundation, a national non-governmental organization supported by UNICEF, provides some of these children – including former child soldiers – with a home, education and life skills, while promoting Burundi’s proud cultural heritage.

Yves Habonimana, 25: "My legs were sore, my whole body swollen"

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, BUJUMBURA, 26 March 2007

[accessed 10 March 2015]

"When my mother died, I was six. I had no one else to take care of me. My father was still alive then, but he just didn't care. I decided to leave home. I followed other children on the streets. We would scavenge or beg for food and sleep on cartons at the independence square or in the stadium.

"Some days we have nothing to eat. Children are then forced to steal to avoid starvation. Just to forget the misery temporarily, I used to take drugs, alcohol or whatever stuff that would intoxicate me and make me sleep. I have now given that up.

Information About Street Children - Burundi [DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for Francophone Africa on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 2-5 June 2004, Senegal

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

   Action taken by the Government of Burundi:

·               Established two vocational training centers for street children

·               Developed a National Plan of Action for the training and reinsertion of street children

·               Established an inter-ministerial committee specially responsible for facilitating the reinsertion / reunification of street children

Past Programs: Econ. Dev.

[access information unavailable]

BURUNDI - Five years of civil war and two years of economic sanctions have resulted in extreme living conditions, low food supplies, economic recession, unemployment, an increase in infant mortality rates, and a decrease in school attendance.

New Call For Free Child Education

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Bujumbura, 1 July 2005

[accessed 10 March 2015011]

38 % of Burundian children attend schools, according to UNICEF.  Many parents cannot afford to pay the fees at public school, plus uniforms, books and equipment.  A survey carried out in 2003 reported that 640,000 children in Burundi had been forced to work.

Burundi - Africa Children's Day 16 June Focus on Street Children

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Burundi, June 15, 2004

[accessed 13 April 2011]

Ndikumana said such organizations failed to provide the requisite care because they did not bother to tackle the root causes of the street-child phenomenon.  As a possible corrective measure, he said, these organizations should encourage income-generating activities in rural areas.

NGO Launches Center for Vulnerable Children

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN PlusNews, Bujumbura, February 1, 2005

[accessed 13 April 2011]

[accessed 24 November 2016]

Amani House is a branch of Maison Shalom.  It houses orphans and street children who have been wandering in Bujumbura, and even those from the countryside.  Approximately 60% of Burundian children of school-going age were illiterate while 5,000 others were street children.  Some 7,000 children were child soldiers and 230,000 were HIV/AIDS orphans.

Protecting the Vulnerable

Rupert Cook, Deutsche Welle DW-WORLD.DE, 01.09.2007,1564,1105354,00.html

[accessed 13 April 2011]

GETTING CHILDREN OFF THE STREETS - For hundreds of thousands of children, safe houses such as those provided by Maison Shalom remain a far-off dream.  For many, their only home is the streets of Burundi’s towns and cities. There, life remains a desperate struggle to survive.

Watchlist Country Report on Burundi

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict

[accessed 13 April 2011]

STREET AND UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN - Orphaned and separated children are exposed to a range of abuses and rights violations, including police violence, arbitrary arrest, and general insecurity. They often live in abysmal conditions, sleeping outdoors, begging on the streets, and suffering from malnutrition and violence.  Some unaccompanied and separated children may be victims of abuse and exploitation at the hands of their foster families, even extended family members.  Those living in orphanages frequently face even more severe problems.

Enrolling Street Children In School - Burundi


[accessed 13 April 2011]

1500 street children around the country were enrolled in primary schools, thanks to the UNESCO program “Education for Street Children”.

Humanitarian Activities

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Burundi, 26 July - 1 August 2004

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

3 NGO REHABILITATES 40+ STREET CHILDREN - National NGO Oeuvre pour la protection et le developpement des enfants en difficulte (OPDE) announced it had rehabilitated more than 40 over-school-aged street children through a one-year training in handicrafts. School-aged children were enrolled in the formal education system.

Children & War

International Anglican Family Network IAFN

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

Generally, children are consumers and not producers. This is no more the case in Burundi. The majority of children – and especially orphans – have given up schools and found jobs to survive. Some are householders; others carry more luggage than they weigh themselves. What they get in return is not enough to cover their needs. The consequence is the increasing rate of child mortality, with children doomed to malnutrition, lack of health care, and shelter.

Abandoned Children [PDF]

International Anglican Family Network IAFN Newsletter, 2003

[accessed 13 April 2011]

[Page 5 Burundi] STREET CHILDREN: A BIG CHALLENGE TO THE CHURCH - After a deep analysis, it was discovered that not only were many of the children already under the charge of other children’s associations, but also a few of them came from their own home for the ‘free breakfast’

Some of the parents used to be street children themselves and are sending their children on to the streets as a source of income.  Other children are sent out when they don’t have classes, either in the mornings or in the afternoon, so that their families can make ends meet. For all these children, urgent action is lly needed so that they don’t leave school and become street children.

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