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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the early decades of the 21st Century                                           

Republic of Sudan

Until the second half of 2008, Sudan's economy boomed on the back of increases in oil production, high oil prices, and large inflows of foreign direct investment.

Agricultural production remains important, because it employs 80% of the work force and contributes a third of GDP. The Darfur conflict, the aftermath of two decades of civil war in the south, the lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and a reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture ensure much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years despite rapid rises in average per capita income.  [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 Sudan.  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.


700,000 street children in Sudan’s capital

DABANGA, Khartoum, 22 February 2015

[accessed 14 July 2021]

On the occasion of the Festival of the Child, Majda Suleiman, the spokeswoman for the Association, told the press in Khartoum that most of the homeless children trying to survive in the Sudanese capital, are from Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile state. Their families fled the insecurity in these regions and sought refuge in the national capital.

She added that many street children are “used by criminal groups” for begging and human organs trade.

SUDAN: Living on the streets

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, KHARTOUM, 26 September 2006

[accessed 10 March 2015]

A dozen boys discuss the allure of glue and solvents during their time on the streets of the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Solvents made them braver when they attempted to pick pockets or pilfer from shops. The beatings the police administered hurt less when they were high. Their dreams were vivid and pleasant. Glue filled their empty stomachs for hours when a piece of bread would only stave off hunger for a few minutes.

Making the Best of a Home Away from Home

Nhial Bol, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Khartoum, Jun 1, 1998

[accessed 25 July 2011]

Rahman says his parents left him in a railway station in western Sudan when he was very young. He finally made his way to the capital, Khartoum, where he says he has grown up. ''I know what is good and what is bad,'' says Rahman, adding that he entered the school of life early.

Another young boy, from Southern Sudan, told IPS that the young and the old on the streets, who have found themselves cast out of society, have tended to form new families among themselves to survive.

Pointing to an elderly man nearby, who is a leper, the young boy says: ''This man is my father, but not my real father, because he treats me like a son''


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Sudan

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 14 July 2021]


The law provides for tuition free basic education up to grade eight, but students often had to pay school, uniform, and examination fees to attend. Primary education is neither compulsory nor universal.


Police typically sent homeless children who had committed crimes to government camps for indefinite periods. Health care, schooling, and living conditions were generally very basic.

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 October 2002

[accessed 25 December 2010]

[67] While taking note of the adoption by the President of a decision on 19 June 1999 "to deal with the problem of street children", the Committee remains concerned that:  (a) There are large numbers of children living on the street in urban areas and that these children are vulnerable to, among other things, sexual abuse, violence, exploitation and the abuse of various substances and that they lack access to education and adequate health services;  (b) Street children are classified as "vagrants" in the context of government practices.

Myth of JEM child soldiers

Mahmoud A. Suleiman, Sudan Tribune, June 26, 2008,27663

[accessed 25 July 2011]

[accessed 8 January 2017]

In order to shed some light on the plight of children in Sudan under the reign of the National Congress Party (NCP) regime, it is worthwhile to obtain background information. Numbers of children on the streets of Khartoum have started to increase rapidly ever since the early 1980s, when many families moved there to escape the war in southern Sudan and the drought afflicting the western regions of Kordofan and Darfur. Two-thirds of the street children in Khartoum the National Capital of Sudan are estimated to sniff petrol-based tyre repair glue.Available data on child labour and street children in Sudan suggests that the number of street children in northern Sudan was around 70000 by the end of the year 2002, with 73% of these living in the streets of Khartoum. Boys make up around 86% of those on the streets, and girls 14%.

Sudanese children abducted for fighting and sex-UN

Reuters, Geneva, 8 Jun 8 2007

[accessed 26 December 2010]

The committee did not spell out whether the forced recruitment was by official Sudanese armed forces, by its allied janjaweed militias, rebel groups or all sides.  But street children and youths uprooted by the conflict which has racked Darfur since 2003 are particularly vulnerable to all forms of exploitation, the U.N. body said.  htsccp

Human Rights Watch - Street Children

Human Rights Watch

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

[accessed 25 July 2011]

In several countries where we have worked, notably Brazil, Bulgaria, and Sudan, the racial, ethnic, or religious identification of street children plays a significant role in their treatment. The disturbing notion of "social-cleansing" is applied to street children even when they are not distinguished as members of a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group. Branded as "anti-social," or demonstrating "anti-social behavior," street children are viewed with suspicion and fear by many who would simply like to see street children disappear.

Saving Khartoum's abandoned babies

John Goddard, Toronto Star, Apr 15 2007

[accessed 25 July 2011]

Sharia law in Sudan demands that a woman who gives birth out of wedlock be lashed 100 times.  Along with official punishment comes lifelong shame for both mother and child. Rather than face such consequences, many women hide the pregnancy under their robes, deliver the baby in secret and abandon it to the streets.

In 2003, government figures show, babies were being abandoned to Khartoum streets at the rate of 110 a month. And in the five years from 1998 to 2003, roughly half of abandoned babies died before being found – some of dehydration, others of blood poisoning through the umbilical cord. A few were eaten by dogs.

Survivors usually ended up at the Maygoma institution for illegitimate babies, only to be treated as outcasts not worthy of care. During the same five years, of the 2,500 babies admitted to Maygoma, 2,100 died – a mortality rate of 84 per cent.

Information About Street Children - Sudan [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 25 July 2011]

The privatization of public services, together with limited public awareness of children’s rights, has deprived street children of access to health, education, shelter and other social services. They are forced instead to rely on leftovers as a source of food, and to washing themselves and their clothes on the streets. This renders them vulnerable to a wide range of illnesses and infections such as cholera, gonorrhea, STDs and HIV/AIDS.

Street Children - The Facts

New Internationalist Magazine, Apr 1, 2005

[accessed 25 July 2011]

[scroll down to RELATED ARTICLE]

Sudan - With poverty rates as high as 90% among the general population, there are 70,000 street children in Northern Sudan, 86% of them boys. The vast majority are employed.

AIDS Orphans Throng The Streets

Nhial Bol, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Khartoum, January 13, 1999

[accessed 25 July 2011]

[accessed 8 January 2017]

John Babitis, a social worker employed by the Catholic church in Khartoum, says most of the children come from war-torn southern Sudan and the drought-stricken western and central regions of the Northeast African country. There are an estimated 80,000 street children in the capital city.

The Catholic Church shelters some of the homeless children, and according to Babitis, out of the 52,000 children sheltered in church hostels, 10,000 are AIDs orphans.

Babitis is in charge of one of the hostels with 40 children, 14 of whom are AIDS orphans. “I don’t know the situation in other hostels, but I think they’re all the same,” he says.

The social worker says the AIDS orphans have experienced “terrifying treatment”.

“They were abused by their relations and some were forced to do work meant for adults in return for accommodation and feeding,” he says.

War Child Newsflash 1998

War Child NL, North Sudan

[accessed 25 July 2011]

[scroll down]

SHAMS STREET CHILDREN PROJECT, KHARTOUM - An idea was developed to bring street children from all around Khartoum together in a football competition. For Sudanese street children, a football is a possession to dream about.

The streetboys of Khartoum, ranging in age from 8 to 18. In December 1997, twenty football teams were formed with street children and children in reformatories, orphanages, drop-out schools and displaced community centres.


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 11 February 2020]

CHILDREN - The government operated "reformation camps" for vagrant children. Police typically sent homeless children who had committed crimes to these camps, where they were detained for indefinite periods. Health care and schooling at the camps generally were poor, and basic living conditions often were primitive. All of the children in the camps, including non‑Muslims, must study the Koran, and there was pressure on non‑Muslims to convert to Islam. In the camps, the PDF often conscripted teenage males (and, in the South, some females). Conscripts faced significant hardship and abuse in military service, often serving on the frontline. There were reports that abducted, homeless, and displaced children were discouraged from speaking languages other than Arabic or practicing religions other than Islam.

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