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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                           

Republic of Cameroon

Because of its modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems facing other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnating per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Cameroon

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


Street Children On The Increase In Douala

Joe Dinga Pefok, Up Station Mountain Club, 15 June 2006

[accessed 22 April 2011]

CRIME WAVE - If the authorities are getting worried about the increase in the number of street children, it is because of the rising crime wave in the city, involving many street children. These children mostly hang out in the busy commercial streets of Akwa during the day and sleep at the corridors of the commercial buildings in the night.

Street children are said to mostly start off as 'pick pockets'. With time, they gain more and more experience, and eventually move into big robbery operations. Most of those who grow to start participating in big banditry operations are said to leave the street for hotels, or put up with women.

The Impact Of Home Background On The Decision Of Children To Run Away: the case of Yaounde City street children in Cameroon

Matchinda B., Yaounde 1 University, Ecole Normale Superieure, Cameroon, Child Abuse Negl. 1999 Mar;23(3):245-55

[accessed 22 April 2011]

OBJECTIVE: This study sets out to investigate the phenomenon of street children and its relationship to their home background. The project stemmed from the fact that there is an enormous increase of children nowadays roaming the streets.


*** 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 26 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - According to a study conducted in 2000 by the ILO, the Ministry of Labor, and NGOs, children in Cameroon work in the agricultural sector; in informal activities, such as street vending and car washing; as domestic servants; in prostitution; and in other illicit activities.  The ILO has found that 7 percent of working children in the cities of Yaounde, Douala, and Bamenda were less than 12 years of age, and 60 percent of these had dropped out of primary school.  During school vacation, street children reportedly work to earn money for school.

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 - Although exact numbers were unavailable, the country had a significant number of displaced or street children, most of whom resided in urban areas such as Yaounde and Douala.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 12 October 2001

[accessed 26 January 2011]

[62] The Committee expresses its concern at the increasing number of street children and at the lack of specific mechanisms to address this situation and to provide these children with adequate assistance.

[63] The Committee recommends …

Cameroon: Govt to Rehabilitate Street Children

Elvis Tah, The Post (Buea), 28 April 2008

[accessed 16 January 2017]

Apart from mad people that wander about the streets, many children are increasingly joining them. They are found mostly inhabiting bus stops and video game houses. Some of these street children sleep on the verandas of off-licences and bars, and in abandoned or uncompleted houses.  In Douala, the Catholic Cathedral seems to be providing a safe haven for them where many have their beddings under a tent, where they retire from their daily activities to doze.

These street children come from different backgrounds and for various reasons; those who break up from their families because of disequilibrium and those who get to the streets because they have a misunderstanding with their benefactors or masters.  Some of such children are of Nigerian origin who are brought to Cameroon to serve as shop keepers or house helps, and after a misunderstanding with their masters, they flee to the streets.  A majority of such children are found in Kumba and Tiko in the Southwest Province.

The second category of street children are those who are actually living with their parents or guardians but are out of school, probably to hawk and supplement the family income.  The third category is of Arab extract that move along with their mothers, in markets and strategic places to beg for money.

Street children: a collective responsibility

Pamela Bidjocka, Editor, Cameroon Radio Television CRTV, 20/03/2008

[accessed 22 April 2011]

[accessed 25 November 2016]

The Ministry of Social Affairs has launched a nation wide campaign to recuperate street children in all major towns in Cameroon.  Within the framework of the project, employment and social assistance shall be made available to the street children in other to facilitate integration within their various families. The project which is in its pilot phase shall focus on some 800 children.

Pickpockets Invade Yaounde Streets

Elizabeth Mosima, Cameroon Tribune, Yaoundé, April 12, 2007

[accessed 16 January 2017]

Taxi drivers are the target of the new breed of bandits.  Its 10:30 am in Yaounde. The famous Avenue Kennedy is as busy as usual. Teponno Martin, (49) a taxi driver in Yaounde, finds it difficult to collect pick up passengers. He can barely hear the destinations of passengers because all the car windows are winded up. It is normal. There are pick pockets around. He recounts that he has been a victim of robbery twice. In the first incident, the sum of CFA 5000 was stolen from his vehicle. According to him, the children surround the vehicle and use tactics to distract the driver and before he knows it, they have made away with any thing they can lay hands on.

PMUC Stays With Street Children

Joe Dinga Pefok, Up Station Mountain Club, 20 January 2006

[accessed 22 April 2011]

The General Manager of Pari Mutuel Urbain Camerounais, PMUC, Jean-Dominique Casamarta, recently reassured the management of Foyers Saint-Nicodème, a chain of homes for children taken off the streets in Douala, of the company’s support.The re-assurance was manifested by the signing of another annual convention with Foyers Saint-Nicodème.

Samuel Ngnitedem - Association Emmanuel du Cameroon

ASHOKA Fellows, 1995

[accessed 22 April 2011]

[accessed 25 November 2016]

THE PROBLEM - Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon, is estimated to have well over 1,000 street children, and another major city, Douala, has an even larger number. In virtually every major urban area, the problem of displaced children is becoming acute. Populations of "hidden" street children can be found living in groups under bridges, in abandoned buildings and even in open fields around Yaounde.

Reports to Treaty Bodies - Committee on the Rights of the Child

Human Rights Internet, For The Record 2001, Volume 2, Cameroon

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

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Other points of concern included: the possible use of inter-country adoption for the purpose of trafficking; the increasing number of street children and the lack of specific mechanisms to address this situation and to provide these children with adequate assistance

How The Circus Came To Cameroon's Street Children

[access information unavailable]

Most of the young people come from underprivileged environments where violence is an everyday occurrence. They have found asylum on the streets, which have become home to them. But it's a dangerous kind of asylum.

Street Children In Cameroon

October 19, 2001

[accessed 22 April 2011]

The streets of Cameroon are turning in to homes for some run away and abandoned children.  Many of these children are between the ages of 7-22.Some are out for business, selling stuffs on their own to make a living, while others are out for no good, just roaming the streets like cow boys.

Street Children and (AIDS)-Orphans project

International Relief Friendship Foundation, ANAYA-Initiative for Street-Children and Orphans in Africa

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

[accessed 22 April 2011]

4. PROJECT DESCRIPTION, OBJECTIVES:  THE OBJECTIVES OF THE SAFE HOUSE ARE -  Provide a safety zone for displaced children from the hours of 9:00 pm through 5:00 am. During these hours the building will be open and services provided to the children in need. This time frame has been chosen due to the fact that children on the streets are most at risk during this period.

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 - Cameroon",, [accessed <date>]