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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                       

Republic of Liberia

Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, some have returned. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products - primarily raw timber and rubber.  [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 Liberia.  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 plight of Liberia’s street children

Sam K Zinnah,, Apr 10, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 14 June 2011]

CATEGORIES OF STREET CHILDREN IN LIBERIA - The second category of street children is the children that live in the streets. This category comprise of those who live in the streets. They do some contracts of fetching water or washing dishes and carrying short distance loads for people, most of them are mentally compared to steal and are involved in other forms of hustle. They sleep in unfinished buildings, market stalls, old & abandon cars, soccer pitches and just any available places they can find regardless of it safety. They are largely self-supervised.

CAUSES OF STREET CHILDREN - The negative impact of street life on children is enormous. Many street children lack basic rights such as education, family love, health care, good food & safety. Other disadvantages include exposure to drugs, the risk of being knocked down by uninsured cars, harsh punishment for little offences, the early arrival of adulthood, association with the wrong people & criminals and lost of family ties. Another big problem is exploitation. Street children are most time exploited by adults who hire them to work for wages payable at the end of the month but often the contracts are terminated even before the end of the month without good reason and the children remain unpaid.


*** 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 - There were thousands of children living on the streets of Monrovia, but it was difficult to tell who were street children, former combatants, or IDPs. Nearly all youths witnessed atrocities, and some committed atrocities. There were 40 registered orphanages and many unofficial orphanages that served as transit points or informal group homes. Orphanages were under-funded and had difficulty providing basic sanitation, adequate medical care, and appropriate diet. Many orphans lived outside these institutions, which received erratic government funding and relied primarily on private donations. In September a special government task force, composed of 17 organizations including the UN and NGOs, promised to close 35 orphanages that were exploiting orphans.

[Note: The next two links should lead to identical files … however they do not … ]

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 June 2004

[accessed 14 June 2011]

56. The Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts to rehabilitate the educational system that was massively destructed by the civil war. It further takes note of the “Back to School” program that has already brought many children back to school. However, the Committee is concerned about the continuing low rates of enrolment, the significant disparities of enrolment and literacy rates between boys and girls and the overall low quality and hidden costs of education.

62. The Committee shares the State party’s concern about the prevalence of child prostitution, particularly in urban areas, and is further concerned at the lack of data thereon.

Put Street Children Back in the Classroom,’ CWI Boss Urges

Jacqueline Dennis, The Analyst (Monrovia), September 1, 2006

[accessed 14 June 2011]

Mr. Teah disclosed that the (CWI), which is located in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island, was established in 2003 as a tuition-free school to help street children get back in school noting that they have been unfortunate to acquire education because of the exorbitant fees charged by other schools.  He said children should not be denied education because it is their right to be educated. According to Mr. Teah, the institute’s program are sometime interrupted because the building was also being used for worship purposes and there was no where to accommodate the children who are eager to learn.

Squeezing in an education

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Monrovia, 23 January 2007

[accessed 10 March 2015]

Liberian youths are packing Liberia’s public primary schools under a free, compulsory education programme, but the country’s beleaguered, post-war school system can barely keep up with desks, books and other supplies. At the cost of about US $5, children purchased and then brought their desks with them when they enrolled at SIMS.

The government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf aims to dramatically increase the country’s enrollment rate through the Education for All law that was enacted in 2004.

"The enforcement is getting the results we want. Children are now coming from the farms, off the street and into the classrooms," Sirleaf recently told reporters.

Information about Street Children - Liberia [DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for Anglophone West Africa on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 21-24 October 2003, Accra, Ghana

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

[accessed 14 June 2011]

Street children allegedly face more attacks and abuses from law enforcers than they face from civilians.  As such, protection/ advocacy groups must be determined to engage law enforcers in a dialogue to try and establish a working relationship.  Street children (with strong survival skills) are vulnerable to recruitment by drug dealers and armed forces. Many street children from Liberia were recruited to fight the wars in other countries in the sub-region and sometimes beyond.  There is no monitoring mechanism in place to track their movement.

Consortium for Street Children – Liberia

Consortium for Street Children 2004 -- Based on a paper submitted by Don Bosco Homes Liberia

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

[accessed 14 June 2011]

Liberia has just come out of a civil war that lasted 14 years. The resulting cross-border movement has led to family disintegration and the separation of children from their families.  A survey of street children in Monrovia conducted in September 2003 revealed 66% male and 34% female street children out of a total of 1,409 children. Their ages ranged from 4–18 years.

Cote d'Ivoire: Stop the use of child soldiers

Amnesty International, 18/03/2005 -- AI Index: AFR 31/003/2005

[accessed 14 June 2011]

THE USE OF CHILD SOLDIERS IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE - The phenomenon of child soldiers in Côte d’Ivoire is clearly linked to non-resolved issues in Liberia. It is the result of previous failures to properly demobilize. In Liberia, only 4,300 child soldiers were demobilized. With the end of the war in Liberia, former child soldiers often became street children that the civilian population would continue to fear.

Liberia Humanitarian Situation Update No. 107

Report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2 - 9 July 2004

[accessed 14 June 2011]

B. COORDINATION - TASKFORCE ON STREET CHILDREN RECONVENES ACTIVITIES - There are a small but growing number of children who are being committed to the Monrovia Central Prison. The prison currently does not have separate facilities for children.

Don Bosco Homes And Street Children

John T. Monibah, Salesians of Don Bosco UK

[accessed 14 June 2011]

[accessed 22 December 2016]

Don Bosco Homes in Liberia has worked for Monrovia's street, since 1992. At present we are in contact with some 500 street children. Our outreach workers visit twenty police depots daily to intervene on behalf of juveniles in jail. In a country where there are virtually no state-run juvenile correction centers, the situation is getting worse as more take to the streets.

Address to the Security Council meeting on Children in Armed Conflict

Guest speech by Wilmot from Liberia, New York, 5 May 2002

[accessed 14 June 2011]

Today as I speak, the children of Liberia are suffering again from war. We don't have good education because of war. We are malnourished because of war. There are many reports that children are being recruited. We are dying because of war.

Protection of children affected by armed conflict

Report of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (A /53/482)

[accessed 14 June 2011]

51. The categories of children identified as having special protection needs include ex-combatant youth, refugee and internally displaced children, sexually abused girls and unaccompanied and street children. The following were identified as the key challenges requiring initiatives:

(a) Empowering families, economically and socially, to resume their roles in bringing up and supporting children, thus moving away from a policy of heavy dependence on institutional care. At present, many unaccompanied, displaced and orphaned children are resident either on the streets or in orphanages, many of which are of dubious quality.

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