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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                                                                                      

Republic of Armenia

Armenia joined the World Trade Organization in January 2003. The government has made some improvements in tax and customs administration in recent years, but anti-corruption measures have been largely ineffective. Armenia will need to pursue additional economic reforms and strengthen the rule of law in order to raise its economic growth and improve economic competitiveness and employment opportunities, especially given its economic isolation from Turkey and Azerbaijan.

  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2021]


CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Armenia.  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 On The Streets In Yerevan

Taguhi Hakobyan, Hetq Online

[accessed 29 March 2011]

HOW AND WHY DO CHILDREN END UP ON THE STREETS? - 60% of the children that police find in the streets and bring in to the center are successfully returned to their families, and 40% are transferred to special institutions.  There are children that have been brought in two, three, or more times, though not many.

According to child psychologists, the street children can be divided into four groups: 1. The most common, children who beg at their own will. 2. Children who beg out of extreme necessity, 3. Children who accompany begging with work (street prostitution). 4. Children who beg at the instigation of adults. These last seek outside connections to avoid returning home. Forced begging can involve boys in criminal gangs and girls in prostitution.

A STREET CHILD IS A VICTIM - “Very often we blame the children who beg and their parents. I think that’s not fair,” says Samuel Hanryon, who heads of the local office of the organization Medecins Sans Frontieres. Meetings with the children and their parents have convinced Hanryon that most of them are driven to the streets by hopelessness and extreme poverty. There are families where parents are unemployed, get into debt, and are forced to send their children out to beg. According to Hanryon, 90% of street children go home to their families. “Fortunately, there are no children who constantly spend the night in the street,” he says.


*** 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 - There are reports of increasing numbers of children dropping out of school and starting to work in the informal sector, especially in agriculture.  Children in the streets of Yerevan can be observed, often during school hours, selling newspapers and flowers.

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 4 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Education is free, universal, and compulsory through age 14; a secondary education is provided through age 16(this represents a complete secondary education). According to the UN Development Program, in 2003 84 percent of students completed schooling through age 14, and 36 percent studied through age 16.

In the Yezidi community, a high percentage of children did not attend school, partly for economic reasons and partly because schools lacked Yezidi teachers and books in their native language. In September the government published and distributed Kurdish- and Assyrian-language primary school textbooks.

During the year a local NGO reported that nationally there were approximately one thousand homeless children and that the number continued to grow. Abuse of street children did not appear to be a serious problem.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, January 30, 2004

[accessed 19 January 2011]

[245]. The Committee reiterates its concern about the situation of street children, who are amongst the most marginalized groups of children in Armenia.

[246]. The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party establish mechanisms to ensure that these street children are provided with identity documents, nutrition, clothing and housing. Moreover, the State party should ensure that these children have access to health care; reintegration services for physical, sexual, and substance abuse; services for reconciliation with families; comprehensive education, including vocational and life-skills training; and access to legal aid. The State party should cooperate and coordinate its efforts with civil society in this regard. The Committee also recommends that the State party undertake a study on the nature and extent of the phenomenon.

Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC) - Summary Record Meeting  2000

Chairperson: Mrs. Ouedraogo, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 9 March 2000

[accessed 29 March 2011]

14. The situation with regard to education was extremely disturbing: school attendance had decreased sharply, the school dropout rate was on the rise and teachers were extremely badly paid.  The increase in the number of street children was alarming, accompanied as it was by a rise in crime. Was it true that children were forcibly enrolled in the army?

When I Grow Up, I Will Become Like You

Anna Beglarian

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

MEANWHILE - The Specialists dealing with children’s problems, confirm that the “street children” originally appeared in the streets of Yerevan, and only later in Giumri and Vanadzor, in early 90-s. These days they can be seen everywhere, particularly at congested places: in the subway, railway station, close to churches. If you look closely at them, you can see how skillfully they pretend to be physically or mentally ill, how convincing is their story that goes straight to the soul. Their playing looks very natural. You can do nothing but give alms.

Armenia: Child Prostitution Taboo

Sona Meloyan, Caucasus, CRS Issue 182, 21 Feb 2005

[accessed 30 March 2011]

Underage prostitution is growing as more young people end up on the streets.

Few people in Armenia will admit that child prostitutes exist, let alone talk openly about it. That is making it harder to address the problem as increasing numbers of vulnerable young people end up living on the street.  "They never talk about child prostitution. It's a taboo subject," Mikael Danielian, head of the Armenian Helsinki Group, told IWPR.  "Neither the police nor the authorities - not even adult prostitutes - will say anything. They try to stifle the subject, shut it down. But that does not make it any less of a problem." - sccp

My Story as an AYF Intern in Armenia

Talene Hatzadourian, The Armenian Weekly, October 2002

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

Sitting in on these therapy sessions, I learned a lot about the difficult and stressful lives these children led each and every day. These therapy sessions helped the children express their emotions and deal with the pain and loss they have experienced throughout their lives (and at such young ages).  Many of them had lost at least one parent or family member, and lived in extremely congested and filthy homes in the poorest areas of Yerevan.

Mount Ararat and the Flute Player of Yerevan

Milia Ali, The Star Weekend Magazine, Vol 1 Num 117, August 08, 2003

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

And, of course, the street children of Yerevan! How can I forget them? At the request of the NGO that cared for these children, I organized a charity concert for their benefit. The most enjoyable part of the task was that I taught them to sing Tagore's song: “Ami chini go chini tomare ogo bideshini…”(I know you. Oh! Foreigner--you live across the seas…. I have felt your presence in the depths of my heart.) which they performed on stage. After this event, whenever I walked through the main streets of Yerevan I would have a little boy or girl following me singing “Ami chini …” How apt! Just as I carry a little bit of Armenia with me wherever I go, I have also left a part of me there -- the part which will be recognized as the Chena bideshini (The known foreigner)!

Orran Benevolent Non-Governmental Organization

Orran ["haven" in Armenian]

[accessed 30 March 2011]

There are more than 14,000 children who do not attend school in the Republic of Armenia because their families are unable to meet the basic costs of their education. Social vulnerability and economic deprivation in families has also contributed to an increase in the number of unaccompanied children and children living and working on the streets. Some of these children have resorted to begging, others to selling flowers, and some to simply picking food out of the garbage. This problem is becoming more serious every year.

Grants To Organizations - OSI Grant List

Open Society Foundations - Armenia, 2001

[accessed 30 March 2011]

Date of Grant Letter: 4/13/2001

Program: Civil Society

Grant Number: 506011UA51


To work with street children in Yerevan 3 times a week, to organize social-rehabilitation of 30 street children through organization of various arts and craft training sessions according to their interests. Human rights and civic education basics will be provided to the children by the organization of the summer school. In the framework of the grant the children's relations with schools and their families will be reestablished.

Near East Foundation Annual Report 2004, Armenia: Street Children

[access information unavailable]

48%of Armenians live below the poverty line and many families are not able to adequately care for their children.  Street kids have many assets to work with-street smarts, ambition, responsibility, and entrepreneurial skills.

The Fund for Armenian (FAR)

Fund for Armenian Relief FAR

[accessed 30 March 2011]

STREET CHILDREN’S RECEPTION CENTER - Approximately 400 roam the streets of Yerevan and other cities, and beg for food and money.  Some of these children are orphans while some come from families that are too poor to support them. They turn to the streets in desperation.

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