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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                       

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Jordan is a small Arab country with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources. Poverty, unemployment, and inflation are fundamental problems, but King Abdallah II, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


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


Information about Street Children - Jordan [DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for North Africa and the Middle East on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 3-6 March 2004, Cairo, Egypt

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Factors pushing children onto the streets: These include exposure to sexual abuse and/or physical violence, school dropout or inadequate attendance, enculturation into street gangs as a kind of surrogate family, substance abuse (especially glue and organic solvents), working (to support other family members), dysfunctional or broken families, conflict with the law, and rejection by communities.


*** 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 16 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Child vendors on the streets of Amman work selling newspapers, food, and gum.  Other children provide income for their families by rummaging through trash dumpsters to find recyclable items..  Due to deteriorating economic conditions, the presence of working children, especially as street vendors, may be more prevalent now than it was 10 years ago..  Working children are primarily concentrated in the governorates of Amman, Zarka, Irbid, Balqa, and Ma’an.

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The IRC continues to conduct research on child labor and is also implementing a program for street children in Irbid with support from the Swiss government.  In May 2004, the National Council for Family Affairs in collaboration with the World Bank, concluded a study of disadvantaged children in Jordan, with a particular emphasis on working children and street children.  The Ministries of Labor, Education, and Social Affairs are working in collaboration with a British NGO to implement two major projects focusing on juvenile offenders and school dropouts.

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 - The government attempted to safeguard some other children's rights, especially regarding child labor. Although the law prohibits most children under the age of 16 from working, child vendors worked on the streets of Amman. Economic conditions and social disruption have caused the number of these children to increase over the last 10 years. Child vendors sold newspapers, tissues, small food items, or gum, and other children who picked through trash dumpsters to find recyclable cans to sell, sometimes were the sole source of income for their families. Generally these children were not subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including prostitution. However, experts agree that children working on the street were more vulnerable to becoming victims of these sorts of crimes.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] The MOL's Child Labor Unit received, investigated, and addressed child labor complaints (although it has no formal mechanism for doing so) and coordinated government action regarding child labor. Anecdotal evidence suggested that child labor, especially of street vendors, was more prevalent during the year than it was 10 years ago. Despite the difficulty in accurately measuring the extent of child labor, child labor is particularly noticed in big cities, where children work in mechanical workshops or as peddlers at traffic lights. A 2001 official study estimated that 38 thousand children were working.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [DOC]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, September 29, 2006$FILE/G0645032.doc

[accessed 16 February 2011]

[90] The Committee is encouraged by the State party’s efforts to address the issue of children working and/or living on the streets, including the amendment of the Juveniles Act (Law No. 52 of 2002) which introduced a new definition of child beggars as children in need of protection and care. The Committee notes with concern that due to insufficient information and statistics about street children the number of children working in the streets can only be estimated. The lack of a systematic and comprehensive strategy to address the situation and protect these children is also of concern to the Committee.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2 June 2000

[accessed 28 February 2011]

[51] The Committee is concerned about large numbers of children living and/or working on the streets, particularly in urban centers such as Amman, Zarqa and Irbid, who are amongst the most marginalized groups of children in Jordan. Noting that begging is an offence, the Committee is concerned that children who are picked up for this crime risk court proceedings, or placement in detention or orphanages.

Regional Experts Continue Discussions On Child Labor

Jordan Times, AMMAN, October 7, 2003

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

[accessed 5 June 2011]

When working boys and girls are sexually assaulted, bullied by their peers and treated as social rejects, their road to recovery and social reintegration, even under the hands of professionals, is no easy task.  Rape of new boys on the street may take place as a kind of initiation to the streets by other street boys and may continue to occur as long as a boy is vulnerable and unable to protect himself.  Around 27% of the surveyed children working in Irbid admitted to have been sexually harassed by some of the older boys in their workplace.

Overview of Adolescent Life - A Changing World

UN Population Fund UNFPA, State of World Population, 2003

[Last access date unavailable]

CHANGING FAMILIES AND LIVING CONDITIONS - Many young people are living without one or both of their parents, and may not be able to rely on their families for support.  In Jordan, the proportion of young adolescents aged 10-14 not living with either parent was less than 3%, and less than 10% for those living with only one parent.

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