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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                                                                                  

Republic of Angola

The global recession that started in 2008 stalled Angola’s economic growth and many construction projects stopped because Luanda accrued billions in arrears to foreign construction companies when government revenue fell. Lower prices for oil and diamonds also resulted in GDP falling 0.7% in 2016. Angola formally abandoned its currency peg in 2009 but reinstituted it in April 2016 and maintains an overvalued exchange rate. In late 2016, Angola lost the last of its correspondent relationships with foreign banks, further exacerbating hard currency problems. Since 2013 the central bank has consistently spent down reserves to defend the kwanza, gradually allowing a 40% depreciation since late 2014. Consumer inflation declined from 325% in 2000 to less than 9% in 2014, before rising again to above 30% from 2015-2017  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2021]

Description: Description: Angola

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Angola.  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.


Children in Angola tortured as witches

Paul Salopek, Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2004

[accessed 7 Aug  2013]

Last month Helena was accused by her parents of sickening two of her nieces with evil spells. In retaliation, the bewildered girl says, one of her small hands was burned on a red-hot stove. Her meager possessions, including her clothes, were torched. She was choked. And finally, to destroy her reputation in the community, she was beaten in front of a large crowd. Her mother and elder sisters administered these punishments.

In Uige, a sleepy hill town near the Congo border, children's advocates said that a teenager accused of sorcery was set ablaze by a mob that included his own relatives. Another boy was buried alive, beneath the corpse of a man he allegedly hexed, rights workers said. The luckier children are merely banished from their homes. They roam the streets like pariah dogs, surviving hand-to-mouth off food scraps from the markets.

Street children

Eric Beauchemin, June 12, 2005

[accessed 16 January 2017]

"I didn’t like being on the streets. Life was very hard," says 8-year-old Fato. She doesn’t know how long she spent there before being taken in by a shelter in Luanda. The number of children living on the streets of Angola’s towns and cities is increasing. Some of the kids lost their parents during the war, others fled extremely poor or abusive families, and yet others had to run away after being accused of witchcraft.

Street Children Find Refuge In Sewers

Dan McDougall, Scotsman, 26 September 2003

[accessed 28 March 2011]

[accessed 15 August 2017]

In the fading evening light, the wide boulevards of Luanda are virtually silent but for a ragged army of filthy street children running barefoot as they head home to the sewers.  Below the streets, in complex sewers laid by the Portuguese settlers a century ago, a classic Dickens nightmare is played out as the children and the rats compete for scraps of food.


*** 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 19 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - UNICEF estimated that 29.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Angola were working in 2001.  Many children in Angola live in the streets, not only as a result of displacement from recent civil conflict, but also as a consequence of poverty and the lack of any other options.  Many homeless girls are at high risk of sexual and other forms of violence.  Street children often work as shoe shiners, car washers, and water carriers.  Angolan children work in subsistence agriculture, as domestic servants, as street vendors, and as beggars.

Human Rights Reports » 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 17 March 2020]

CHILDREN - The INAC is responsible for child protection, but it lacked the technical capacity to work without the assistance of international NGOs and donors. The government had registered 1,500 homeless children in Luanda, but other estimates of their number were much higher. An estimated 10,000 children worked in the streets of Luanda, but returned to some form of dwelling during the evening. Most of these children shined shoes, washed cars, carried water, or engaged in other informal labor, but some resorted to petty crime, begging, and prostitution.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, November 3, 2004

[accessed 19 January 2011]

[68] The Committee expresses its concern at the increasing number of street children in the State party. It also notes with concern the generalized use of intoxicating substances among street children.

Children as young as 6 face accusations of witchcraft

Clara Onofre, Global Voices, 26 November 2008

[accessed 28 March 2011]

Makiesse is a survivor of a disturbing phenomenon that has appeared in Angola in recent years: accusations of witchcraft against children followed by abuse, neglect and in some cases, death. Makiesse's stepmother accused him of witchcraft and of having caused the disease that killed his father. He could not eat with his family, he had to sleep in the toilet, he was beaten every day and was forced through purification rituals that seemed more like torture - fasting, punches and incarceration. Makiesse was six. “I would say that I am not a witch, the witch might have used my face at night. But no one believed me,” said Makiesse to PlusNews. One day the family threw petrol on him. His uncle prevented him from burning alive. He sneaked him from Uige to the capital Luanda, 345 km away. He left him at a Catholic church that shelters street children. This was three years ago. Makiesse has only been visited twice by his older brother.

Mean streets hold little magic for young African 'witches'

Sharon LaFraniere, The New York Times, Uige Angola, November 13, 2007

[accessed 28 March 2011]

Domingos Pedro was 12 years old when his father, a government worker in this isolated provincial capital, died three years ago. His father's passing was sudden; the cause was a mystery to doctors. But not to Domingos's relatives.  They gathered that afternoon in his mud-clay house, he said, seized him and bound his legs with rope. They tossed the rope over the house's 3-meter, or 10-foot, high rafters and hoisted him up until he was suspended head-first over the hard dirt floor. Then they told him they would cut the rope if he did not confess to murdering his father.  "They were yelling, 'Witch! Witch!' " Domingos recalled, tears rolling down his face. "There were so many people all shouting at me at the same time."

"The witches situation started when fathers became unable to care for the children," said Ana Silva, who is in charge of child protection for the children's institute. "So they started seeking any justification to expel them from the family."  Since then, Silva said, the phenomenon has followed poor migrants from the northern Angolan provinces of Uige and Zaire to the slums of the fast-growing capital, Luanda. Two recent cases horrified officials there. In June, Silva said, a Luanda mother blinded her 14-year-old daughter with chlorine bleach to rid her of what she thought were evil visions. In August, a father injected battery acid into his 12-year-old son's stomach because he feared he was a witch, she said.

Welfare Ministry Offers Professional Courses to Street Children

Angola Press Agency, Luanda, April 17, 2007

[accessed 16 January 2017]

Over 100 street children from Rangel district are being registered since Monday morning, here, by the Municipal Department of the Assistance and Social Welfare Ministry (Minars), to attend various professional courses.

The students are aged between seven to 29 years, with 10 being females from 13 to 20 years old.

In Postwar Angola, Glimpses of an Emerging Country

Lynne Duke, The Washington Post, August 27, 2006

[accessed 28 March 2011]

During my earlier travels in Luanda, the city smelled moldy and rancid, in part from mounds of fetid garbage pilled high on the streets. By night, I saw legions of street children -- war orphans -- sleeping on sidewalks beneath newspapers or tarps. By day, they darted in and out of traffic, begging along with the ubiquitous mutilados (war amputees mutilated by land mines) who leaned on crutches at roadside.

Now, instead of beggars, the streets are filled with hawkers, selling everything from bras to batteries, key chains to chewing gum, flip-flops to axes, Kleenex to Rattex (rat poison). Our driver, Afonso Kapembe, one day bought car floor mats and an iron while idling at a traffic light. As for the street children, we didn't see any; perhaps they are just less obvious than before. Instead, while searching for an art shop, we stumbled into a school for the arts that was filled with singing and dancing children -- the children of peace.

Angola's Children Bearing The Greatest Cost Of War

Jenny Clover, African Security Review Vol 11 No 3, 2002

[accessed 7 Aug  2013]

Street Children - Separated from their families and unable to rely on kinship networks, they tend to organize into smaller groups with an older child protecting younger children, socially isolated in ghettoized buildings. Many are orphaned or abandoned; some have left starving families or abusive environments. For children, survival requires washing cars, carrying water, scavenging in dustbins or prostituting themselves.

Photo Essay: Angola - Life From The Ashes Of War

Text by Rod Booth, Photos by Paul Jeffrey, Action by Churches Together ACT International, Luanda, July 30, 2002

[accessed 28 March 2011]

Hundreds of thousands of Angolan children have grown up in such surroundings, with access neither to schooling or medical care.

Children's Life In Angola

BBC News, March 2004

[accessed 29 March 2011]

The war left many children orphaned in Angola. They sleep on the street, because their parents have been killed and they have been left on their own.   The lucky children have found a family to look after them. When the unlucky children die they will be buried like rubbish.

Some of the children I saw were less than a year old, the older kids would search for something to eat or beg for food at people's houses.   Being an orphan in Angola means that they have no life at all.   Most children have happy dreams. These youngsters have to cope with nakedness, thirst, starvation and weakness.

The future of Angola is its children

An interview with Mrs. Ana Paula dos Santos, Angola's First Lady

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

[accessed 20 September 2011]

What we have achieved is like a drop of water in the ocean. No matter how much one gives to these children, their needs are still much greater. It is important to remember that many of the children that live in the streets today still have their families. The problem is that these families lead a precarious life, without anything to assure a dignified existence for the kids. Consequently, the children end-up living in the streets.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA Situation Report

Center for International Disaster Information, Monthly Analysis (October - November 2004), 20 December 2004

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

[accessed 20 September 2011]

An effective solution must be based on a sound and coherent social policy that protects the rights of children, supports poverty reduction and increased access to education as well as other essential basic services.

GOAL- Angola

GOAL  - An international humanitarian organisation

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

[accessed 20 September 2011]

IN LUANDA GOAL IS IMPLEMENTING THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS: STREET CHILDREN: GOAL provides basic medical support to some 600 street children and also offers them counseling and recreational activities.

IV Day spirit embraces Luanda’s street children

UN Volunteers (Germany), Luanda, 14 December 2002

[accessed 29 March 2011]

It is estimated that thousands of homeless children are living in Angola’s capital. Products of war, Luanda’s street children resort to begging and working small jobs in order to survive. Many are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

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