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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                               


Canada has enjoyed solid economic growth, and prudent fiscal management has produced consecutive balanced budgets from 1997 to 2007. In 2008, growth slowed sharply as a result of the global economic downturn, US housing slump, plunging auto sector demand, and a drop in world commodity prices.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Canada

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


No Way Home

A segment of The Fifth Estate -- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC News, March 10, 2004

[accessed 5 January 2015]

ON THE STREET - When youth become homeless, they don’t all automatically end up sleeping on street grates or in doorways. In fact, they end up staying in a variety of places.  A 1999 survey found that:

·  60% of street youth are staying in one of Toronto’s youth shelters

·  25% staying in an apartment (92% were staying with friends and 'couch surfing')

· 15% staying on the street of which 4% were living in squats, and 9% in parks, alleys, and doorways.

Most experts agree that homeless shelters are a band-aid solution that offer little more than a bed and hot meal.

SICKNESS AND DEATH - Street youth are more likely to get sick and even die on the streets. A recent study that examined the mortality rate among homeless youth was carried out in Montreal between 1995 and 2000 and looked at 1,013 young people between the ages of 14 and 25. Originally the study was designed to examine rates of HIV and Hepatitis infection among youth. But the researchers began to realize that some of their subjects were disappearing. They began checking the coroner’s records and discovered an alarming rate of deaths - mostly caused by suicide and drug overdose.

By June 2001, 26 of the 1,013 participants - 22 boys and 4 girls had died, or a mortality rate of .89% per 100 person years. Note: the total figure is really 29 but three were not included in the above number because they had not been on the street for two years or more. The homeless youth mortality rate was 11 times higher than the rate of the general population of Quebec.

Composition of the Homeless Population

Lyne Casavant, Political and Social Affairs Division, Parliamentary Research Branch, PRB 99-1E, January 1999

[access date unavailable]

[accessed 26 November 2016]

YOUTH - Mistreatment is often cited as a factor in youth homelessness. A number of studies have confirmed that many homeless young people have been victims of sexual, physical or psychological abuse. A 1992 study by social service agencies in the Ottawa-Carleton region indicated that 75% of the street children interviewed had left home because of sexual assaults or physical and/or psycho-emotional abuse. Living on the street is no protection, however: although street life is a violent environment for anyone, it is even more violent for homeless young people and women, and is often accompanied by multiple risks.

Toronto Squeegee Kids Dodge The Law For Change

Reuters, Toronto, July 7, 1998

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Dusty has been living on the street in downtown Toronto for five years, away from parents she says are drug addicts.  Originally from Vancouver, the 21-year-old is part a swelling army of street kids who dodge police while trying to make ends meet by cleaning the windshields


*** ARCHIVES ***

Runaways - Where To Turn For Help Before You Are Homeless

Rebeccas Community

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Here are the best phone numbers to call …They are Confidential - which means they won't tell anyone about your call unless you want them to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger.  They are open 24 Hours - it doesn't matter what time you call  In Canada, call 1-800-668-6868

How To Get Help - Street Helpline

Horizons for Youth

[accessed 22 April 2011]

[accessed 18 January 2022]

If you are in trouble, need a safe place to stay or just want help looking at your options Horizons for Youth is committed to helping out in anyway we can.  Horizons for Youth: (416) 781-9898

Kids Help Phone: 1 800 668-6868

Kids Help Phone

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Providing immediate help and hope that young people need and deserve - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Every day, Kids Help Phone counsellors answer calls and online questions from across Canada. No matter what the problem or concern, our counsellors are there to provide immediate and caring support, information and, if necessary, referral to a local community or social service agency.

How can we help you?

Canadian Centre for Child Protection

[accessed 18 January 2022] is owned and operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. As Canada’s missing children resource centre, offers families support in the search for their missing child and provides educational resources to help prevent children from going missing.

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 - The government demonstrated its commitment to children's rights and welfare through its well-funded systems of public education and medical care. Education is free through grade 13 and is compulsory nationwide through age 15 or 16, depending on the province. The UN Children's Fund reported that 100 percent of elementary-age children attended school; high school was the highest level completed by most children.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 October 2003

[accessed 27 January 2011]

[52] The Committee notes, however, concerns relating to the vulnerability of street children and, in particular, Aboriginal children who, in disproportionate numbers, end up in the sex trade as a means of survival.  The Committee is also concerned about the increase of foreign children and women trafficked into Canada.

[54] The Committee regrets the lack of information on street children in the State party’s report, although a certain number of children are living in the street.  Its concern is accentuated by statistics from major urban centers indicating that children represent a substantial portion of Canada’s homeless population, that Aboriginal children are highly overrepresented in this group, and that the causes of this phenomenon include poverty, abusive family situations and neglectful parents.

[55] The Committee recommends …

Old Town patriarch endured horrid misfortunes

Bruce Bell, The Bulletin - Downtown Toronto, Volume IX No. VIII, 2008-09-17

[accessed 22 April 2011]

After his death in 1901 and as a tribute to George Allan, the City of Toronto changed the name of the Horticultural Gardens to Allan Gardens and has been known as such ever since.  But perhaps the greatest legacy of George Allan, besides serving as Toronto’s 11th mayor in 1855, was his benevolence shown to Toronto’s street children.  In 19th-century Toronto it wasn’t uncommon to walk the streets having to step over the sleeping bodies of abandoned children, some as young as 3 and 4.

In 1870 George Allan donated land he owned on the east side of Fredrick Street just north of Front (where the present Parcel Bus terminal stands) and built the Newsboys’ Home, an early health care and residential facility for young street children nicknamed “newsboys” for selling newspapers on street corners.  The Newsboy Home was the beginnings of Toronto the Good and for almost 25 years the home that stood on the northeast corner of Frederick and Front became a model for future charitable institutions that would eventually lead to the founding of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto in 1891.

Mtl. police says gangs recruiting as young as 10 News Staff, Jun. 13 2007

[accessed 8 Aug  2013]

[accessed 26 November 2016]

Plante said police are aware of about 20 major street gangs in the city, along with another 30 that are trying to gain prominence.  And they are trying to expand their numbers by promising kids the same wealth as rap stars.  "They are now recruiting starting at the age of 10 and 11 years old," said Plante.  The 50 gangs are believed to have between 300 and 500 members.

Ten of 17 murders this year were connected to street gangs -- an increase of two from the same time last year.  While 97 per cent of violent crime in Montreal last year was not associated with gangs, Plante said police are still focusing mainly on gang members.

Ex–street kids thrive in doc

Pieta Woolley,, April 27, 2006

[accessed 22 April 2011]

In an interview in Metamorphosis, Vancouver police Const. Dave Dixon, known for his work in the Downtown Eastside, said the government makes it very difficult for youth to get help. Vancouver East MP Libby Davies echoed those comments in the film too. And Mervyn, who does not appear in the film, can tell story after story about the twisted way local bureaucracy engages with street-involved youth.

Dans La Rue - An Organization Serving Youth on the Street BUNKER  514-524-0029

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Thousands of young people in Montreal are homeless and living with hunger, cold and fear on a daily basis.  What a joy it is for us to see their faces light up when they come through our doors!  At Dans la rue, homeless youths can get a break from the dangers of street life for a few precious moments.  They can also find the support they need to eventually get off the streets - for good.

Construction begins on new youth shelter

Canadian Children's Rights Council, Canada Newswire CNW Press Release, Cambridge, July 3, 2003

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Construction of this shelter demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to providing housing for at-risk and homeless youth.  This new shelter will not only provide a safe, stable
environment for homeless youth, but will also teach them essential life skills.

Tough Kids and Substance Abuse

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Heavily involved in the street culture of Winnipeg, he had been using solvents for many years.  His social worker wanted to know if our school division had a program to help this child out of the drug and street culture while he learned how to read. Could the school help?

Success Stories

Eva's Initiatives

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

[accessed 22 April 2011]

[scroll down]

FAMILY RECONNECT HELPS A YOUTH RETURN HOME - A 16-year-old woman arrived at Family Reconnect with her parents; she had been on the streets for months, having left home at 15 ….. A 20-year-old female arrived at Eva’s Place in early December after arriving in Canada as a refugee only 2 days earlier ….. When Matt first came to Eva's Satellite he was an alcoholic and heavy substance user with medical and mental health issues. He'd been to many of Toronto's youth shelters and been asked to leave some of them because of violent behavior.

A Web Site for and about Street Youth

The Rideau Street Youth Enterprises (RSYE) Web site project

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

[accessed 22 April 2011]

The Rideau Street Youth Enterprises (RSYE) Web site project profiles street youth in Ottawa and tells what is really going on in the streets.  The items placed on the site profile life on the street for youths in Ottawa and provide guidance to facilities which are available to youths in the Ottawa downtown area.  One of the major items on the site is Concrete Thoughts, a publication of street youth poetry produced by RSYE

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 - Canada",, [accessed <date>]