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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                           

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)

Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications, though the government is sponsoring major improvements in the road system with support from Japan and China. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice, accounts for about 40% of GDP and provides 80% of total employment.  [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 Laos.  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.


Child Labor


At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 June 2011]

UNICEF'S WORK - There are also children who don’t get to go to school and who do very dangerous work.  Souk is an 8-year-old boy who lives in the People’s Republic of Laos in Southeast Asia. Every night, Souk sleeps on the dusty ground between rows of parked buses. For over two years, the bus station, behind a busy market, has been home to Souk, his mother and his sisters Chane, who is 4-years-old, and Noi, who is two-and-a-half. During the day, Souk and his sisters go to the city’s main square to beg for money and food. Why is begging a dangerous job? Because there are no adults around to look after the children, and the children often work near busy streets. They are also at risk for sexual exploitation, abuse, and kidnapping.


*** 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 9 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Although the government has made children's education and health care a priority in its economic planning, funding for children's basic health and educational needs was inadequate, and the country had a very high rate of infant and child mortality. Education is free and compulsory through the fifth grade; however, high fees for books and supplies and a general shortage of teachers in rural areas prevented many children from attending school. According to government statistics, 80 percent of primary school‑age children, 50 percent of junior high school‑age children, and approximately 25 percent of high school‑age children were enrolled in school; however, the UN Development Program estimated that almost 40 percent of children did not attend school at all and only 10 percent entered secondary school.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [e] There were a number of illegal immigrants in the country, particularly from Vietnam and China, and they were vulnerable to exploitation by employers. Some illegal immigrant Vietnamese children sold goods on the streets of Vientiane, although the government made some effort to stop this practice.

LAOS: Restaurant provides street children with training and hope

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Vientiane , 29 July 2008

[accessed 10 March 2015]

In one of the first projects of its kind, Friends International started up Mak Phet restaurant to provide vocational training for former street children, with the support of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, in Vientiane, Lao PDR.  Gustav Auer, regional hospitality and business coordinator of Friends International, says his proudest achievement is building up the children's confidence. "Most importantly, through their experience in the restaurant, we want to nurture in the former street kids a sense of self-esteem," he told IRIN.  It is unknown how many children live or work on the streets of Laos. This is partly because the problem was not recognised officially by the government until recently. Often the children were rounded up, returned home or put into detention centres.

Information about Street Children – Lao P.D.R. [DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for East and South East Asia on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 12-14 March 2003, Bangkok, Thailand

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

A strong culture of parental respect and support means that children sometimes move to the streets trying to find money or work at the behest of their parents.

Urban Social Issues, Laos

Church World Service CWS, 1/16/2008

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

When Laos opened its economy in the early 1990s, many social problems began to emerge -- child labor, drug use, prostitution, trafficking (abroad) of women and children, juvenile delinquency, etc. Most of the problems were first seen in the urban areas of Laos. Through this project, CWS is able to impact the Lao Government thinking in dealing with urban social issues, which it is ill-equipped to handle due to lack of experience and personnel.

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