It is currently estimated that 150 million children are living and working on the streets
across the world...
across the world...
Street children can be found in nearly every country, whether they are so-called "developed" or not. The majority are born in and destined to a life of extreme poverty, in which they have ZERO opportunity to stand up for themselves and are completely subject to a fight for survival. Most of them have parents who are poor and uneducated, unable to support a child with the most basic of necessities. Some of them have parents who have cast them out as unwanted. Others are the unexpected children of prostitutes, or have been orphaned when their parents died. Some of them run away from home due to physical and sexual abuse. Most of these children are born without birth certificates, unable to get documentation as a citizen from their government, and are therefore unidentified by the system. With parents unable or unwilling to care for them, and governments who often neglects or completely ignores them, these children are left to fend for themselves. But how can a child fend for themselves in the BIG world out there?
They are forced to BEG...
Street children are found exclusively in urban cities - the hubs of people and money - where they beg in the streets for money from the passersby. Often times, rural and uneducated parents will move their families to the city in hopes that they will be able to earn more money, only to find job competition and a rising cost of living. As a consequence, parents inevitably must force their children to work in order to put food on the table, and children quickly become a commodity, where more hands out on the streets means more income for the family. Many of these children, who are new to the city streets and naive to the corruption when money is involved, are quickly kidnapped and abused in order to make money for their kidnappers.
In India, which contains the largest population of street children (18 million), there are "beggar mafias" - groups who gather up street children and force them to beg for money to pay the mafia members. There are many cases where children have been approached by someone who pretends to be a social worker, but drugs their food and takes them to a hospital where one (or several) of their limbs are amputated.
"In what was dubbed the ‘arms for alms’ scandal, doctors were filmed by Indian journalists agreeing to cut off the healthy limbs of children for just £100". This apparently makes the children "better beggars" - more shocking and invoking more guilt in the "hearts" of people passing them in the street - which means more money for the mafia. The children, however, have been permanently scarred.
They are forced to do Hard Labor...
Many street children and children of impoverished families are recruited to work for factories, since their small hands and keen eyesight make them very effective at sewing clothing and gluing small parts together. The International Labor Organization estimates that over 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working in developing countries.
In China, many of the factories and sweatshops that produce the majority of the products imported by the US and Europe employ child workers. Here, children work on average 10-14 hours a day and make less than half the wages of an adult. Many children are working in very dangerous conditions. In 2003, a fireworks factory exploded in Hebei Province, China, where one child died and 34 other children were injured. Investigators found that the children were being forced by their school teacher to make fireworks in the factory. Some of these children had a quota of 1,000 fireworks per day.
The abuse of child labor is well-known in India, where the majority of people are so poor that they are unable care for their children, and often sell them into "bonded labor" - where children become slaves, making little or no wages, and are expected to work for their "master" for their entire life. It is estimated that there are 15 million "bonded" child slaves in India, working in nearly every industry, especially construction, brickmaking, domestic labor, silk production, and even the diamond industry.
In 2007, a textile sweatshop in Delhi, India was exposed for using children as young as 10 to produce clothing for Gap Kids during the Christmas season. Many of these children were working 19 hours a day, forced to sleep in the factory, working back to back shifts in order to make sure their quota was met on time, and beaten if they were moving to slow or if they fell asleep. Also, many of the children were not being paid for their work, and may have been working to pay off the debts of their parents or relatives. Despite being exposed in 2004 for contracting to 136 factories that used child laborers, the Gap continues to contract to factories in impoverished areas in order to keep costs low, but with a new "policy" that all workers must be over the age of 14.
In Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa, approximately 15,000 children between the ages of 12-16 are being trafficked in from the poorest towns to become slaves in the cocoa industry. Cocoa farmers often meet with desperate parents who are struggling with money, and promise to give their children a good job so they can send money back home.
These children are forced to work as slaves in the cocoa fields, expected to fill 80lb bags full of cocoa beans and carry them back to the farms. Many of these children are kept in horrendous conditions, with 18 of them confined to sleep in one small room, with very little food and water, and are usually beaten when they do not meet expectations. 43% of the world's chocolate (a $75 billion dollar industry) comes from beans harvested by Cote d'Ivoire child slave laborers.
They are forced to have SEX...
UNICEF reports that there are 200,000 child prostitutes in Thailand, 400,000 in India, between 244,000 and 325,000 in the U.S., 35,000 in West Africa, and 100,000 in the Philippines, Taiwan and Brazil.
According to the child prostitution advocacy group ECPAT, there are at least 2 million children held in sexual slavery in Asia today. Most of these children have come from poor rural villages, sold by their families for several hundred dollars (which is usually enough to feed the entire family for a whole year). Most of the time, parents are convinced by "brokers" that their child will be a nanny for a wealthy family in the city, or that they will be able to get a good job so they can send money back home, promising a better life for them - sometimes children are just kidnapped. The majority of these children will never see or speak to their families again, as they are quickly sold off to brothels and pimps around the world.
There is a myth among Asian men that having sex with a virgin will rejuvenate them and give them power. "There are surprisingly large number of aging and wealthy Chinese businessmen who believe that they must deflower a virgin at least once a year to gain the energy needed to be successful in their business enterprise and have a long life" cite. To feed this desire for young virgins, each year tens of thousands of girls are trafficked in and out of China from rural areas to become prostitutes. Many of these girls are Chinese citizens, who have been abandoned by their families due to the "one-child policy" in China which encourages a preference for male children. Asia has become the hub for European and American tourists to travel to for sex with children - where they believe they are less likely to be punished or prosecuted. Many of these men claim they are helping the young children by helping them escape economic hardship.
"On this trip, I've had sex with a 14 year-old girl in Mexico and a 15 year-old in Colombia. I'm helping them financially. If they don't have sex with me, they may not have enough food. If someone has a problem with me doing this, let UNICEF feed them."-Retired U.S. Schoolteacher (cite)
On the other side of the world in Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil, the child sex trade is becoming a giant industry. Alex Fernandez, a 14 year old homeless teenager in Acapulco, describes the process that he goes through everyday when grown men take him to ritzy hotels and pay to have sex with him. "Yes, they buy me. The business gets me food. It gets me clothes, No one else helps me. What do you want me to do?" Children here are paid $10 - $50 to have intercourse or oral sex with older men, but most of the money likely goes to their pimps.
Even in America, where prostitution is illegal, children are sold into sexual slavery every day. The Department of Justice estimates that more than 250,000 young American citizens are at risk for of being forced into commercial sexual exploitation. According to the FBI, a large human-trafficking organization in California in 2008 not only physically threatened and beat girls as young as 12 to work as prostitutes, they also regularly threatened them with witchcraft. American girls who are forced to become prostitutes are largely unprotected by the laws, and if caught, are most often put in jail for prostitution instead of being considered a victim of human trafficking. It is also estimated that up to 17,500 young girls are smuggled into the US for prostitution. (cite)
According to UNICEF, it is estimated that over 30 million children have been trafficked for sexual exploitation over the past 30 years, with the numbers increasing each year consistently. Research shows that the number one reason that children are sold into sexual slavery is because their parents were too poor to take care of them. And those who sell children into slavery will continue as long as the child sex trade is a $7 billion dollar industry.
They are forced to FIGHT in wars...
Street children and children from impoverished families are especially susceptible to being recruited to fight as soldiers in wars. Some of these children become soldiers due to a promise of money and food, but many of them are kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers, where the majority die. In the past ten years, child soldiers have been reported in many of the wars around the world - most notoriously in the civil war in Uganda, where approximately 30,000 young boys and girls were abducted and forced to become soldiers in the rebel "Lord's Resistance Army". The young girls, some only 10 year old, were often raped, beaten, and forced to be sex slaves for all of the other soldiers in the group.
Recently, there have been increasing numbers of children recruited as child soldiers in wars in the Middle East. In Afghanistan, children as young as 5 are being paid by the Taliban to plant IED bombs near the roadways where British and American troops are known to drive on. Children are used because they are less suspicious, and they are also less likely to be attacked by foreign troops. Many of these children are unaware of what they are doing and are simply following orders to make some money. Children have also been recruited as suicide bombers - with traffickers being paid $7,000-$14,000 for a child suicide bomber. In May 2011, a 12 year old blew himself up during a street bazaar killing four civilians. In April 2011, in a nearby area of Afghanistan, a 13 year old detonated his explosive vest killing 10 people (including 5 young children) in an attempt to kill a military commander. The use of children as suicide bombers has also been reported many times during the war between Palestine and Israel, where Palestinian children (often 14 or 15 years old) have been apprehended while carrying several explosive devices intended for Israeli soldiers.
How do they cope with the Abuse?
Whether they are mutilated to make them better beggars, beaten and torn apart from being forced to have sex with 30 men in one day, forced to kill their fellow citizens during war, or overcome by illnesses and disease, these children are completely on their own with very little support from the people around them. These children face the most horrible abuse possible and many of them turn to drugs to ease their suffering.
In this picture, a 12 year old Ukrainian street boy injects himself with a home made drug made out of ephedrine.
The most popular drug among street children around the world is glue huffing. Glue is very cheap and can be easily abused, giving children a quick, short-living high that takes away their hunger and makes them feel warm. Many of these children develop problems with their brain and nervous system as an adverse effect of the chemicals in glue. Some children turn to drinking and hard narcotics as they spend more and more time on the street. A research study in Egypt showed that the reasons for drug abuse among street children were largely to help subdue fears, help them sleep at night, and to be able to endure pain, violence, and hunger.
It is estimate that 70% of children who are living on the street are suicidal. Many of them are suffering from diseases, especially HIV/Aids and other STD's due to being raped, molested, and from sharing needles.
How can WE stop this?
As you can see, the world is not a wonderful place for the 150 million children who must live on the street without any support. If we have a look around the world, we are hard-pressed to find anything that ensures children's rights, and that is the main reason why children are prime targets for abuse. They are mistreated, from the moment they are born, and live their entire lives as suffering. Nothing that we are currently doing is helping these children, not a single charity or outreach group has been able to stop this abuse, and we cannot continue to simply donate to these groups and just hope that these children will receive the support they need.
We must be self-honest here and realize that we are all responsible for these children's suffering, especially when we want to simply ignore what is going on. The very core of our entire world system must change in order to make sure that no child is born into this world doomed to a life of suffering. We must stand up and be willing to change in order to ensure that children are given the Right to Life. We must begin with changing the current money system, as money has become the number one reason for child abandonment, child slavery, and child sexual exploitation.
The Equal Money System provides support for EVERY child, making sure that they are cared for the moment they are born until the day they die.
- In an Equal Money System, every child is guaranteed a home, with a bed and clean clothes, with clean drinking water and nutritious food.
- They are guaranteed access to health care, with all of the medicine that they need.
- They are guaranteed an education so that they can build the skills they need to be effective and successful in life.
- They are guaranteed to have enough money to meet their basic requirements of life for their entire life.
- They are guaranteed to have an Equal Right to Life as every other human being here on Earth.
Every child deserves to live a life free of suffering.
Learn how YOU can make this happen for ALL Children of the Earth!
To learn more about Children around the World who Suffer from our corrupt economic system watch the following documentaries:
Cheated of Childhood (Russia) -
Child Factory Workers (Bangladesh) -
Slaves of the Lake (Ghana) -
The Dark Side of Chocolate (Ivory Coast) -
Very Young Girls (America) -
Playground (America) -
Inside the Child Sex Trade (Indonesia)-
Child Prostitution (South Africa) -
Cutting Edge, Child Sex Trade (Romania) -
The Day My God Died -
Fighting Child Prostitution -
Child Slavery -
Invisible Children - Child Soldiers in Uganda