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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                 

Co-operative Republic of Guyana

The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries. The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities - sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice - which represent nearly 60% of the country's GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices.

Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Guyana

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


The Boys From Nowhere

Editorial, Stabroek News, April 24, 2007

[accessed 21 May 2011]

A city magistrate was at his wit's end recently to decide what do with a 10-year-old boy who had been charged for robbery with an offensive weapon. Posing as beggars, the boy and his 13- and 15-year-old partners approached an unsuspecting victim, threatening her with an ice pick, and robbing her of her valuables.

Unrepresented in court, clad in filthy garments and of no fixed place of abode - police talk for homeless - the boy was a member of one of the several posses who now live on the street and who seem to have come from nowhere and to be going nowhere. Uneducated, unwashed and uncared for, street children live in a catch-as-catch-can world around fast-food restaurants and supermarkets in the central business district by day, outside night clubs and bars in the entertainment circuit at night and sleeping on makeshift cardboard cots on the city's pavements and parapets.

The children survive by begging, gambling, stealing and working at odd jobs. They are usually victims of sexual molestation by men; bullying; fighting; stealing, and drug use and abuse. Beyond the care of adults, many juveniles are increasingly being seduced into criminal activity by their peers and older boys.


*** 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 8 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - UNICEF estimated that 27 percent of children ages 5 to 14 in Guyana were working in 2000.  It is common to see children engaged in street trading.  There are reports of an increase in prevalence of child labor.  Though the government acknowledges the growing street children phenomenon, there is still a need to address the problem sufficiently.  Recent primary school attendance statistics are not available for Guyana.  Though the government has made concerted efforts to increase enrollment rates and to bring dropout children back into school, dropout rates, particularly among boys, remain high.

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 9 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Public education was available to age 20. Education was compulsory until age 16, universal, and free through secondary school. Children often did not attend school because their families needed them to contribute to the household by working or providing child care to siblings or younger relatives. According to 2004 statistics, primary school attendance was 87 percent, although only 50 percent of the children completed secondary education.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] Although the law sets minimum age requirements for employment of children, child labor in the informal sector was a problem, and it was common to see very young children engaged in street trading in the capital.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 January 2004

[accessed 8 February 2011]

[51] While noting the study with UNICEF on street children and the State party’s awareness of the phenomenon of increasing numbers of street children, the Committee remains concerned at the situation of street children and at the lack of adequate and sufficient measures to address this situation.

‘Tis the season

Editorial, Stabroek News, December 22, 2007

[accessed 21 May 2011]

Another not so new phenomenon is children begging on the streets. Of course, this is not limited to Christmas time. Child beggars were on the streets year-round. Several months ago, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security launched a programme, which saw the children being removed from the streets and taken to a specially designated home from where they could be reunited with their parents who would have received counselling. The ministry is now busy with its sexual violence consultation and it appears that the street children programme might have suffered as a result. One particularly glaring example is the mother with about five children near Muneshwer’s Store on Water Street targeting shoppers and customers visiting the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry next door. The children, who are dirty, ragged and wear no shoes, are the ones who approach the targets asking for “a little help” and receiving it.

Govt promises residential facility for street children

July 13th 2007

[accessed 18 January 2017]

Government says it will provide a residential facility for street children as part of its efforts to clamp down on the social ill and keep them off the streets.  Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon at a press briefing yesterday made the disclosure and said that the current centre would be rehabilitated and dedicated to housing street children.  However he cautioned that the facility would not be a "forever institution", adding that the focus would be on having the children placed in permanent, appropriate shelters through adoption or putting them in the custody of relatives.

Mission possible

Editorial, Stabroek News, March 17, 2007

[accessed 21 May 2011]

[accessed 4 December 2016]

'Mission Child Protection', much like the operation that had seen the same ministry under Ms Manickchand's predecessor undertake to get aged street people into the Night Shelter, involves officers trawling the areas where street children are known to be. The officers were able to pick up 37 children ranging in ages from four years old to 15 years old, with no resistance from any of them, and take them to a home, which had previously been set up specifically for this purpose. This speaks volumes. The first thing that is obvious is that these children wanted to be rescued.

Committee On Rights Of Child Reviews Initial Report Of Guyana

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Press Release, 14 January 2004

[accessed 21 May 2011]

The task force created to investigate the increase in the number of street children had concluded that many of them were school dropouts who had been unable to get jobs because they did not have birth certificates, the delegation said. Others gave myriad reasons that prompted them to live on the streets.

Drop in Centre youths engaging in literacy and numeracy programme

Government Information Agency GINA, Georgetown, February 27, 2007

[accessed 21 May 2011]

Several youths at the Drop-in Centre for street children are currently engaged in literacy and numeracy programmes, and based on an assessment since the programme commenced one month ago, the 10 participants are showing significant signs of improvement.

According to Wilson, the remedial programme covers several areas, including computer classes, craft programmes and tie-dying. Children of the Joshua House, Georgetown are also benefiting from the programme.

The Drop in Centre has recorded significant success during the past year. It has helped to reunite more than 30 children with their families after counselling, and reintegrate about 50 of them into the school system.

Street children in training programmes

Government Information Agency GINA, Georgetown, December 5, 2006

[accessed 21 May 2011]

Children at the Drop in Centre for street children on Hadfield Street, Georgetown are currently involved in several training programmes aimed at building self-esteem and equipping them with life skills.  According to Administrator of the Centre Jacqueline Wilson, the children are being prepared to face the challenges of society.

Country Overview

[access information unavailable]

Irregular working hours make it difficult for parents to provide adequate care for their children and as a result, many are either left on their own or are cared for by extended family. The inability of the extended family network to cope in a time of poverty, migration and AIDS is linked to the growth in the number of AIDS orphans, street children living and working in the center of Georgetown as well as the number of children being placed in orphanages.

Preserving The Innocence Of Children

Guyana Chronicle, August 29, 2003

[accessed 21 May 2011]

By their very presence on the streets, these youngsters are demonstrating that the nomadic and unsheltered existence on the pavements and around the markets is infinitely more palatable than the terrors of home life.

Volunteer Youth Corps Collaborates With UNICEF To Empower Children & Young Adults

[Last access date unavailable]

The program, which initially encompassed the teaching of Peace Education, now entails Sexual & Reproductive Health, Information Technology, Career Guidance and Office Protocol and Etiquette.  The project targets thirty (30) out of schools youths residing in the Lodge community and fifteen (15) street children from the Drop in Center, their age’s range from 12-20 yrs.

Drop In Center Offers A Beacon Of Hope For Street Children

Angela Osborne, Stabroek News, May 2, 2004

[accessed 21 May 2011]

The majority of these children are boys, who have run away from home for any of a number of reasons, or who were driven out into the streets. But the ones who remain on the street are there mostly by choice.

Drop In Center Extends Its Services

Government Information Agency GINA, Georgetown, April 04, 2005

[accessed 21 May 2011]

Among the objectives of the Center are to ‘recreate a generation of responsible children in a harmonious family unit', to keep children off the street and to re-integrate the child into a family system and possibly the school system, to re-educate and provide family counseling for children and families.  The program offered at the Center provides these children opportunities to develop their self-esteem and learn skills that will enhance their future performance.

Partner's Profile - Everychild

Government of Guyana National HIV/AIDS Programme, Ministry of Health, Brickdam, Georgetown, Guyana, November 19, 2009

[accessed 21 May 2011]

The newly formed organisation has since increase its impact by developing a more strategic approach that addresses the unfulfilled rights of the most vulnerable and isolated children in the community.

Tate and Lyle Award for Sustainable Development


[accessed 21 May 2011]

FIND arranged for woodwork students to have work placements in the furniture industry. It organized work with manufacturers for school dropouts, street children and truants, Courts paying 50 per cent of their wages. The 50 furniture makers in the FIND program are expected to double employment in the coming year, to about 750 people.

Protection Project Report - Guyana [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - A high unemployment rate and poor economic conditions have contributed to the problem of prostitution and drug trafficking. Because Guyana is one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, children work in agriculture, domestic service, sawmills, street vending, and textile factories. The number of street children, who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, is also increasing.

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