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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                           

Republic of Ecuador

Ecuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years.

From 2002-06 the economy grew 5.5%, the highest five-year average in 25 years. The poverty rate declined but remained high at 38% in 2006.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Ecuador

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


Independent Appeal: Breaking the cycle of abuse in Ecuador

Andrew Gumbel, The Independent, 7 December 2007

[accessed 9 May 2011]

Mothers prostitute themselves in full view of their children. Predatory relatives sexually molest children with the parents doing nothing to stop them. Husbands beat wives in front of children, who are themselves treated like slaves and also beaten. Every sort of child abuse is to be found in the one-room bamboo shacks of La Isla Trinitaria which are built directly over the filthy mangrove swamps at the mouth of the River Guayas. It is the worst urban slum in Ecuador.

What they found in the most benighted neighbourhood in Guayaquil was household after household where the parents had, essentially, come to expect their offspring to parent them rather than the other way around. "Typically, we'd find the mother in a hammock, knocked out from drugs or drinking or just tired," said Ms Reyes. "The kids would go out and make money and bring home food. And they'd be expected to tend to the mother's emotional needs, too console her if she was sad, give her hugs. What we were looking at was distorted parenting."  It is the terrible abuse this fosters that prompts children as young as eight to try their luck on the streets by themselves.


*** 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 3 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - In urban areas, children work in commerce and services as messengers and domestics.  Many urban children under 12 years of age work in family-owned businesses in the informal sector, including shining shoes, collecting and recycling garbage, selling, and begging on the streets.  Recent primary school attendance statistics are not available for Ecuador.  As of 2000, 78.6 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5.

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 8 February 2020]

CHILDREN - More than 20 NGOs promoted child welfare. UNICEF and several private organizations were active in programs to assist street children. The children of the poor often experienced severe hardships, particularly in urban areas.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] While the Ministry of Labor's Social Service Directorate monitored child labor in businesses such as factories, enforcement in most sectors of the economy remained limited. In urban areas, many children under age 15 worked in family-owned businesses in the informal sector, shining shoes, collecting and recycling garbage, or as street peddlers. Other children were employed in commerce, messenger services, domestic services, and begging. Children as young as five or six often sold newspapers or candy on the street to support themselves or to augment family income.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 June 2005

[accessed 3 February 2011]

[59] The Committee acknowledges the remarkable improvement made in the field of education, including the forthcoming implementation of bilingual education. The Committee also takes note of the system of measurement of academic achievements (APRENDO). However, the Committee is concerned at the low public investment in education, the poor equipment for schools, the limited access to educational facilities for street children, and the regional disparities in the full enjoyment of the right to education

Appendix II / Country Background - Ecuador / Ecuador's Street Children [DOC]

[Last access date unavailable]

[scroll down]  Most street children are found in Guayaquil (Ecuador’s largest and most commercial city), and Quito, the national capital, although small numbers have been present in most of the country’s towns and cities during the last decade. In absolute terms there are much fewer street children in Ecuador than in Mexico, but the former is even more poorly equipped to deal with these youngsters and to prevent others taking to street life.

Country information: Ecuador

[accessed 9 May 2011]

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM - Investigations show that in 1999 every second child came from a family that was not able to pay for food, housing, education, and medical care. As a consequence, these children do not go to school, and 20.5% are forced to start work at ages between 5 and 9 years and 53% between 10 and 14 years. In a country that is struggling against underemployment and employment, often the only opportunity to offer itself is prostitution. They then become victims of exploitation by traffickers and sex tourists.

Ecuadorian economic and social conditions

Street Kids Salesian Project

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

[accessed 9 May 2011]

A. IMPOVERISHMENT IN ECUADOR - More than 65% of all Ecuadorians live in extreme poverty.   This means they are unable to satisfy their most basic human needs:  housing, food, healthcare and education.   This impoverished population, which is scarcely able to survive, is being gradually pushed into an ever more profound deterioration of the human condition.

Conditions in the cities and their surrounding belts of slums can be equally dramatic:  entire neighborhoods of hovels, insufficient or non-existent basic services, high rates of unemployment and underemployment, the ejection of children into the streets, begging

Tainted Harvest - Child Labor and Obstacles to Organizing on Ecuador's Banana Plantations

Human Rights Watch, April 2002

[accessed 3 February 2011]

CHILD WORKERS - Fewer than 40 percent of these children were still in school at age fourteen. When asked why they had left school to work, most answered that they needed to provide money for their parents to purchase food and clothing for their families, many of whom also relied on the nearby banana plantations for their income. Though important for their families, the average income contributed by the children with whom Human Rights Watch spoke was only U.S. $3.50 for every day worked-roughly 64 percent of the average wage earned by the adults interviewed by Human Rights Watch and 60 percent of the legal minimum wage for banana workers.

Taking research to the streets

Murray Tong, University of Guelph, Guelph Ontario Canada, Jan 7, 2005

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

[accessed 9 May 2011]

Young children living and working in the streets are an all-too-common sight in many other cities around the world. But for University of Guelph graduate student Vicky Maldonado, who visited Quito six years ago, it was shocking. Now, she’s surveying these street youth about their survival strategies and the social and economic issues they face, to learn more about their lives and help them get off the streets.

ICA Housing helps street children in Ecuador [PDF]

Dr. Claus Hachmann, ICA Housing, 7/2/2003

[accessed 9 Aug  2013]

[accessed 28 November 2016]

As a contribution to this year’s ICA Co-operative Day and the UN International Day of Co-operatives, ICA Housing is helping street children in Ecuador to build a home, a school and a workshop to train them as carpenters.

The Situation of Street children Financial pressure ruined family structures and the daily experience of brutality as well as slave-like work are the main reasons that children take to the streets in developing countries. Their parents generally are faced with their own struggle for survival so that street gangs for these kids become a substitute for family ties. Without external help the circle of violence and hopelessness cannot be overcome and most governments are neither very much willing nor in a position to help them.

Quito, Ecuador

[Last access date unavailable]

Many wished to stay in the streets, so they were taught to work at simple paying jobs--such as washing cars and cleaning shoes--instead of begging.

Phoenix Rising Project - Raising Street Children In Ecuador With Love

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

[accessed 9 May 2011]

The Phoenix Rising Project is a self-sustaining, self-contained living community in Ecuador, whose goal is to raise South American street children with love, giving them a chance to rise from the ashes and be reborn just like the mythical Phoenix.  The complex will house and nurture 50 orphaned South American children, ages 2 to 12. This pilot venture will consist of nine dome-shaped, energy-efficient buildings, placed cosmologically on a site in the mountains of Ecuador near Quito. The complex will practice sustainable agriculture and a return to the indigenous way of living with and respecting nature. In time, 40 able seniors will be living in the community, helping to raise the children and work the land and animals. There will be a cafeteria, which will later serve as an income-generating restaurant as well. Plans include a Healing Center, Education Center with Library (a rare commodity in Ecuador), and a Cultural and Nature Center.

The Street Children Telecentre project

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO, May 11 2001

[accessed 9 May 2011]

The Street Children Telecentre project in Ecuador and Colombia is exploring ways the Internet can be used to exchange knowledge and experiences in order to help street children solve their problems and create opportunities for a better life. The aim is to expand to expand this network throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mid-project Progress Report - Exploring connectivity for street kids

José María González B., Mid-project Progress Report, 2002-08-08

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

[accessed 9 May 2011]

A cultural change is expected when the computers are introduced in the communities involving street children and youth.  Major change identified is the change from a verbal communication to a written one.  Impact in the long run is unknown.  This form of communication has partially eliminated time, location and language barriers.  The use of computers has encouraged them to improve reading, writing and other language skills.  Improvements in fine motility can be detected.

Foundation for street children, Conocota, Near Quito, Ecuador

Ryan B, Manchester, United Kingdom, July 18, 2004

[accessed 9 May 2011]

[scroll down to July 18, 2004]

The children get up at four in the morning on a school day, and each has a task to do. This might involve feeding the rabbits, of which there are 100 - these are used for food, and the children slaughter them themselves. Then there’s the ducks, which are for eggs, and the garden, where food is grown for both the children and the animals. There are chickens too, but ducks are better because they get sick less easily. Their eggs taste the same, it turns out.

Street Children Assistance

World Endeavors

[accessed 9 May 2011]

Children who roam the streets of Guayaquil selling trinkets and begging for spare change often live a life that is void of love and warmth, safety, protection, and parental care.

The Protection Project - Ecuador [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Ecuador’s child labor figures are reportedly the highest in Latin America. According to a 1999 survey, 45 percent of children between ages 10 and 17 have some type of job. Working boys are found in the informal sector, the formal sector, agriculture and livestock raising, and domestic service (in that order).

Who we help in Ecuador

International Children's Trust, 31/01/2005

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

[accessed 9 May 2011]

Not only are these children exposed to violence, sexual abuse, drugs, prostitution and crime, they are also deprived of their basic right to an education and to a dignified and secure childhood.

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 - Ecuador",, [accessed <date>]