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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                       

Republic of Mozambique

At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world's poorest countries. Socialist mismanagement and a brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation.

Mozambique remains dependent upon foreign assistance for much of its annual budget, and the majority of the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country's work force. A substantial trade imbalance persists although the opening of the Mozal aluminum smelter, the country's largest foreign investment project to date, has increased export earnings.  [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 Mozambique.  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.


Saving 'Street Kids' in Mozambique

Zacharias M. Uqueio, New World Outlook [United Methodist Church]

[accessed 23 June 2011]

After wars, many Africans return from exile not to their native countryside but to unfamiliar cities. The lands where they originally lived are not safe because of deadly landmines. With no food production and recurrent famines, orphaned or cast-off children become "street kids." Young boys and girls who have had no education or moral teaching are now bringing up children of their own. All too often, a 16-year-old father abandons a 14-year-old mother, leaving her with a child to care for. She has no food, no place to live, and no one to help her raise the child; so she decides to dump the baby in a garbage can. Sometimes the young mother can manage to care for the child up to a certain age. But when her life becomes unbearably hard, she abandons the child to life as a "street kid."

FINDING A SOLUTION - Two years ago, Bishop Felton E. May came to Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique. I drove him past an area where Maputo's street children live. When he returned last November, he asked me about these children. I told him that the ones he had seen were all still there, growing up, some having babies of their own. Meanwhile, smaller children were being added to the outcast group. The government was doing nothing–saying that the churches should provide the help.


*** 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 22 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children work on family farms and in informal work including guarding cars, collecting scrap metal, and selling goods in the streets.  Large numbers of children in the informal sector work in transport, where they are employed as conductors, collecting fares in minibus taxis known as “chapas.”  Other forms of informal work done by children include collecting scrap metal, and selling of food or trinkets in the street.  Street children are reported to suffer from police beatings and sexual abuse.

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 27 March 2020]

CHILDREN - The country continued to have a problem with street children. There were no reliable figures on the number of street children nationwide. In 2004 the NGO Rede de Crianca, comprised of 33 community organizations that work with youth in Maputo, identified 3,419 street children in their programs.

The Maputo City Office of Women and Social Action continued its program of rescuing abandoned orphans and assisting single mothers who head families of three or more persons. They also offered special classes to children of broken homes in local schools. NGO groups sponsored food, shelter, and education programs in all major cities.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2002

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 February 2002

[accessed 22 February 2011]

[68] The Committee is concerned that:  (a) There are large numbers of children living on the street in urban areas;  (b) Street children are vulnerable to, inter alia, sexual abuse, violence, including from the police, exploitation, lack of access to education, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition;  (c) The primary response to the situation of these children, as described by the State party in its report, is placing them in institutions.

FOCUS: A place for Maputo's children

Building Design, October 6, 2006

[partially accessed 23 June 2011 - access restricted]

We were in the rubble-strewn back yard of a derelict shell of a building in downtown Maputo. Home, if you can call it that, to a gang of street children aged between 15 and 21. We were here to try to talk to them for a short film on the work of architects for Aid, to be shown next month at BD's Architect of the Year Awards. But as their hostility made clear, they weren't keen to talk to us. Another British journalist had been here a few months before and had paid them for interviews. Information was now a currency to be traded, a commodity like the junk the children scavenge to sell on the street. There would be no filming without an exchange of cash.

Information about Street Children - Mozambique [DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for East and Southern Africa on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 11- 13 February 2002, Nairobi, Kenya

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

[accessed 23 June 2011]

45.7% of the population is under the age of 15; 30% of the population lives in urban areas; there has been economic improvement in the last 5 years. Numbers of street children are estimated between 3,500 and 4,500 with numbers growing due to the impact of HIV/AIDS.

Mozambique Journal: February 9th. 2002

Yates Family site, February 9th. 2002

[accessed 23 June 2011]

As we drove through town, we were told many of the apartment blocks had no running water on the top floor, and we saw more than a few street children in the stylish avenues and around the garbage dumps.

Accao Voluntario em Mocambique (AVM)

Project Managers: Eric and Angela Boetius, Family Care Foundation FCF

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Accao Voluntario em Mocambique (AVM) is dedicated to helping the neglected and abused street children of Maputo.  AVM strives to improve their quality of life with programs that house, feed, educate, and offer comfort, stability and hope.  Most of the children are either orphans or victims of extreme poverty that makes it impossible for their parent(s) to care for them.

Meninos de Mocambique

Street Child Africa

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

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Meninos de Mocambique operates a clinic that helps malnourished street children, who are even more susceptible to malaria, skin diseases and sexually transmitted diseases.  Meninos also has outreach workers who visit the streets of Maputo on a daily basis and befriend the street children. Through the gradual development of a trusting relationship, Meninos can help street children make choices about leaving the streets.

Save the Children in Mozambique [PDF]

Save the Children UK, Mozambique Country Brief 2006

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

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Over the past 22 years, we have improved the lives of tens of thousands of children through providing basic services such as healthcare and education, and through our child protection work, focusing on orphans and other vulnerable children. We have provided food, access to clean water and other basic assistance to children and their families during times of emergency. We have helped thousands of children register their birth so they are eligible for government benefits and other support. And we continue to help children who are affected by HIV and AIDS.

Mozambique Floods Unleash Children's Fears

Mennonite Central Committee MCC, LIBERTAD Mozambique, 25 March 2001

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Most of the girls arrive at the center from the street, having fled abusive family situations, or their parents have died and a stepparent rejected them.

Birth Registration -  Right From The Start [DOC]

United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, Maputo, 16 June 2003

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

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Most babies in Mozambique are still denied their “membership card” to society, because they are not registered at birth.  This has serious consequences, particularly for orphans and other children made vulnerable by being excluded from basic social services and entitlements such as the right to be exempted from school fees.

Massacre Of The Innocents

Giovanni Ricciardi, 30Days [international monthly magazine directed by Giulio Andreotti], March 2004

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Missionary beaten to death with a hammer. After denouncing the ever more frequent cases of children and adolescents disappearing from Nampula, in the north of Mozambique.

World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

August 27-31, 1996

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

[accessed 23 June 2011]


Poverty increasingly drives children onto the streets of Mozambique's big cities. There, they hope to survive. There, they hope to earn a little money for themselves and their families. UNICEF estimates the number of street children in Mozambique at 5,000. For many girls, life on the streets leads to prostitution.

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