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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                   

Republic of Cuba

The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Cuba

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


Dollar gnaws at Cuba's marvellous revolution

Giles Tremlett in Havana, The Guardian, 22 July 2003

[accessed 6 May 2011]

On a Havana street corner a billboard carries the boast "200 million street children in the world, and not one of them Cuban".  The few children on Havana's streets during the day are invariably dressed in neat school clothes. Their teachers claim they are serious students who flourish without the distractions of the consumer society.

An American writer visits Cuba

Emory King

[accessed 6 May 2011]

[accessed 28 November 2016]

At the 450 year-old Cathedral of San Cristobal, I was accosted by the street children. There was a half dozen of them. None was ragged and none looked underfed. One 10 year-old wanted me to give him my pen, "for my schoolwork." He talked English. A little girl asked for a Tropi-cola, the Cuban equivalent of coke. A more enterprising child wanted to sell me cigars "my mama makes." It was touching but I maintained a hard heart and walked on. They didn't seem to mind. They continued their game of tag on the cobbled stone street.


*** 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 - Police officers who found children loitering in the streets or begging from tourists frequently intervened and tried to find the parents. If a child was found bothering tourists more than once, police frequently fined the child's parents. During their summer vacation, students were pressured to enlist for up to a week of "volunteer labor" at work camps in rural areas.

Cuba and the Struggle for Survival (Part 2)

Rick Smith, Dissident Voice, August 29th, 2008

[accessed 6 May 2011]

Around the world there are about 100 million street children. In Cuba, one sees no street children. Half of the world’s more than a billion people living in severe poverty are children. In Cuba, there is a major investment in children; so again, one would be hard pressed to find any Cuban children suffering under conditions of extreme poverty. 90 million children in Latin America live in poverty. 200 million children around the world lack access to basic health care. Cuban children have access to health care. There are about 115 million children around the world of primary school age who are not in school, and who will probably remain illiterate. Cuba has a 100% literacy rate, and virtually all Cuban children attend schools that produce what some consider the best education in the hemisphere at the elementary level.

Destination Cuba, Country information: Cuba

[accessed 6 May 2011]

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM - Expanding tourism, together with other factors, has led to a growth of the leisure infrastructure. In connection with this, there has also been a growth of prostitution and cases of trafficking in humans, promoted by the difficult economic situation of the country since 1990. Every day, new children are driven into prostitution, in order to earn something to contribute to the survival of their family. Many street children are abducted and subsequently become victims of commercial sexual exploitation. In their desperation, some fall for promises of well-paid jobs in the towns and cities. In recent years, the number of children in the towns and cities that are being sexually exploited has increased markedly. The press reports of cases in which foreign tourists have particularly asked for children below the age of 14.

Beyond Tourism

Katherine Guckenberger, Duke Magazine Volume 88, No.5, July-August 2002 -- Archive Edition

[accessed 6 May 2011]

[accessed 28 November 2016]

Any disconsolation a tourist might feel for the dilapidated state of the capital must also come to terms with the more disturbing evidence of Cuba's great social problems and inconsistencies, some wacky and some simply woeful. Cuba has the highest number of physicians per capita in the world but not enough medical supplies to go around. It is a country with a growing number of hustlers and prostitutes, and an increasing AIDS rate; where seemingly well-heeled mothers beg for soap or shampoo to wash themselves and their children; where nineteenth-century apothecaries with rows of porcelain jars are preserved like museums, but modern pharmacies do not stock aspirin; where street children wear hand-me-downs from the U.S. with no idea what the symbols and slogans on their T-shirts--"Wellesley Tennis," "Metamucil"--really mean.

Viewpoint - *Cuban Children Spared The Misery Of Youngsters Around The World

Radio Havana Cuba, 05 January 2001

[accessed 19 September 2011]

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In Cuba, a poor, Third World country, not a single child is without a school or a teacher, not a single child is without medical attention, or social security and not a single Cuban child lives without the love and support of his fellow Cubans.

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