Main Menu
Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                                                                                       

Kingdom of Lesotho

As the number of mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years, a small manufacturing base has developed based on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries, as well as a rapidly expanding apparel-assembly sector.

The economy is still primarily based on subsistence agriculture, especially livestock, although drought has decreased agricultural activity. The extreme inequality in the distribution of income remains a major drawback. Lesotho has signed an Interim Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF.  [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 Lesotho.  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.


Aids orphans abandoned on Lesotho's streets to die alone

Basildon Peta, The Independent, Nazareth Haphloane, 14 January 2006

[accessed 13 June 2011]

[accessed 22 December 2016]

In Nazareth Haphloane and other districts of Lesotho, perhaps an even worse reality has emerged: very young Aids orphans are being abandoned on the streets. Relatives are either incapable of looking after them or do not want to be "overburdened by someone's HIV-positive child who is going to die anyway"

The Protection Project - Lesotho [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - In Lesotho and four other African countries—Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—at least 20 percent of adults are infected with HIV/AIDS.  Lesotho has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world, at about 30 to 35 percent. As many as 14,000 children have been orphaned by the disease. The orphans must then provide for themselves and younger siblings.  In Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, more than 20 percent of children will be orphaned by 2010.  These children often turn to the streets, where they are vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.


*** 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 18 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - A January 2004 study by UNICEF, Save the Children, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare estimates the number of HIV/AIDS orphans to be 92,000.  Children in families affected by the disease often drop out of school to become caregivers of sick parents or care for younger siblings.  Children also work as domestic workers, car washers, taxi fare collectors, and street vendors.

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 - Familial stress, poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and divorce led to a rise in child homelessness and abandonment, creating a growing number of street children and families headed by children. Street children were constrained due to their relative lack of finances from access to government services, such as medical care and school. Street children were not informed about their rights or access to government services. There were no reports of abuse of street children by security forces.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] Many urban street children worked in the informal sector. Most jobs performed by children were gender‑specific: boys as young as ages four and five were livestock herders, carried packages for shoppers, washed cars, and collected fares for minibus taxis; girls were domestic servants; teenage girls (and a few boys) were involved in prostitution; and both boys and girls worked as street vendors.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 26 January 2001

[accessed 18 February 2011]

[55] Labor laws regulating child labor do exist in the State party, but the Committee notes with concern the high and increasing number of children, especially boys, employed as animal herders, inter alia, and children employed as street traders, porters and in textile and garment factories. The Committee is concerned, in addition, at the number of children working in potentially dangerous conditions and at the lack of monitoring and supervision of the conditions in which they work.

[59] The Committee notes with concern the increasing number of children living and/or working on the streets in Lesotho.

The Protection Project - Zambia [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

TRAFFICKING ROUTESZambia is a country of destination for street children from Lesotho’s capital, Maseru.

Consortium for Street Children – Lesotho

Consortium for Street Children 2004

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

[accessed 25 September 2011]

The age expectancy in Lesotho is only 36.81 years, primarily because of the impact of the HIV/AIDS virus. Almost twenty-nine percent of the population has the HIV/AIDS virus and it was responsible for over 29,000 deaths last year. Many programs working with street children in Lesotho focus on this crisis in the form of prevention and/or medical care. There are also programs working to promote the rights of street girls and programs working to advance juvenile justice.

Access to Education - Support children in China, Lesotho and Madagascar

United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel USPG

[accessed 13 June 2011]

LESOTHO - Every day I come across small signs of hope. The young people I have met from the many high schools involved in the HIV/AIDS courses deserve special praise for their integrity and determination to change their behaviour and cultural traditions in order to rescue their country from the AIDS pandemic.

Education will tackle HIV/AIDS

United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel USPG

[Last access date unavailable]

Between 70 and 100 people are dying every day in Lesotho as a result of HIV/AIDS and poverty. The numbers of street children and orphans are on the increase, as is lawlessness.

Lesotho - Poverty

The Tzu Chi Foundation

[accessed 13 June 2011]

In Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, a shelter for street children and orphans was struggling to stay open due to insufficient funding and an increase in the number of children living in the shelter. Some of the children living there were driven to stealing to feed themselves. Tzu Chi began to provide monthly food stipends for the children in 1996. Sewing machines and fabrics were donated to the shelter to start a sewing class. The children finally got enough food and began learning to make clothes. Better still, under the guidance of a local mason, the children built a warehouse for the shelter with their own hands.

Seduction, Sale & Slavery: Trafficking In Women & Children For Sexual Exploitation In Southern Africa [PDF]

Jonathan Martens, Maciej ‘Mac’ Pieczkowski & Bernadette van Vuuren-Smyth, International Organization for Migration IOM, Pretoria SA, May 2003

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

[accessed 25 September 2011]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The major findings may be summarized as follows:

In Lesotho, children from rural areas gravitate to Maseru to escape domestic violence, and the effects of HIV/AIDS. As street children, they are coerced or forcibly abducted by white men before being taken across the border with the consent of border officials to border towns and asparagus farms in the Eastern Free State. There they are held captive in private houses where they are sexually and sadistically assaulted over several days by small groups of men. These children are finally returned to the border, or deposited on the streets of towns in the Eastern Free State to find their own way home. Street children in Maseru are also trafficked by long-distance truck drivers, who use them as sex slaves on their routes. These children travel as far as Cape Town, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

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 - Lesotho",, [accessed <date>]