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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                           

Republic of Chile

Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports account for 40% of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports. Copper alone provides one-third of government revenue.  [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 Chile.  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.


Street Children: A New Liberation Movement?

Arnon Bar-On, Chapter 10: "African Women and Children: Crisis and Response" 2001, ISBN 0-275-96218-0

[accessed 28 April 2011]

[page 189] Another misconception about street children is that they are highly individualistic or that they are driven to individualistic behavior by their circumstances. Research shows, however, that they are more likely to live and operate in groups, where solidarity extends from sharing food so that "everybody at least gets something" (Burling, 1990a, 1990b) to providing emotional support.  These groups are also highly organized. They usually have a recognized leader, whose position is rarely based on harassment, while other members treat each other as equals. Indeed, it is as if they create for themselves new families. For example, Vittachi (1989) describes a group of children in Chile who lived under a bridge. Every morning they drew up shopping lists and distributed tasks, and while the older members went to work, the middle aged children cared for the youngest.


*** 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 28 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - The National Statistics Institute of Chile estimated that 3.3 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were working in the country in 2003.  The survey found that the percentage of working boys is higher than that of girls, and that the rate of child work is higher in rural than in urban areas.  The most common activity for children who work is selling goods on the street and performing odd jobs.

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 7 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – SENAME, the ministries of government and health, and other government agencies formed the Protect Network, which conducted general public awareness and education campaigns to prevent sexual violence and abuse, including the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Nearly 80 percent of SENAME's budget supported NGO programs, particularly those that worked with street children.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] In August SENAME released a report indicating that, as of September 2004, there were 1,123 cases of children and adolescents involved in the worst forms of child labor. Of this number, approximately 68 percent were boys; 75 percent were 15 years or older; and 66 percent did not attend school. Thirty-seven percent of the individuals were involved in hazardous activities such as mining; 24 percent in commercial sexual exploitation; 21 percent in dangerous jobs such as working with chemicals or toxins; and 14 percent in illegal activities.

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

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

[accessed 28 January 2011]

[49] The Committee, while noting that the State party has ratified ILO Conventions No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and increased the minimum age for admission to work to 15, expresses its deep concern at the large number of children, including those under 15, who are exploited economically, especially in the farming sector, and the large number who have to leave school because they cannot conciliate work and school.

Chile tackles child-sex trade

Jen Ross, The Christian Science Monitor, Santiago, January 13, 2004

[accessed 28 April 2011]

HIDDEN TRAGEDIES - Francisco is one of the hidden tragedies. His mother died giving birth, and his father was shot shortly after that. He grew up in orphanages, and at the age of 7, he escaped to an even rougher life on the streets. For half his life, he worked in the sex trade. It was the only way to feed himself, he says.  "I saw that other kids were doing it, but all of them did it out of need," says Francisco. He is 15 now and has been off the streets for three months.

Francisco also had it rough. He was beaten by pimps and clients. He now lives in a shelter called Margin, which tries to get children off the street by helping them find alternative forms of work. Margin is made up of former sex-trade workers like Maria, who search the streets for others and offer them alternative ways to make money. That was the selling point for Francisco.  "This foundation made me change," he says, a twinkle in his eye. "I left prostitution and now I'm working, as a traveling salesman - and legally." He peddles key chains on buses and is learning to make crafts.

Your Gifts Are Helping The Street Children Of Concepcion To Get Jobs

Salesian Missions

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

[accessed 28 April 2011]

The Salesian Technical School has implemented an innovative program that provides basic training in electric, general and automobile mechanics. Using these skills to find work is the only way a street child can survive without begging and stealing.

I Connect Online Street Children Project

Klaus Stoll, 2000-08-19

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

[accessed 19 September 2011]

The Street Children Telecentre project in Ecuador and Colombia is exploring ways the Internet can be used to exchange knowledge and experiences in order to help street children solve their problems and create opportunities for a better life.  "Since I started using the telecentre, I have been talking with Miguel of Concepción, Chile, using chat.  Speaking [to him] through the computer has been a big adventure. Miguel from Chile has become my friend and he is helping me with some school work that we must complete for the Esmeraldas Street Children Program. He is also helping me to discover this world that I never knew existed." - Maria (13 years old)

The Protection Project - Human Rights Reports of The Americas - Chile [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - A recent study estimates that 4,000 children work in the commercial sex industry in Chile; other studies indicate that number could be as high as 15,000. Some 65,000 online networks of pedophiles across the country have been identified.  A 2003 scandal involved a prominent Chilean businessman who was alleged to have recruited street children for a prostitution ring. Two senators have been under investigation, and several police officers and prominent businessmen have been arrested since the scandal unfolded, and the affair has reportedly “opened the country’s eyes to the problem of street children and child prostitution.”

Testimonials from Ray's Chilean friends

[access information unavailable]

Ray Gatchalian spent the last week of his life "in Chile doing what he loved:  engaging people, learning, sharing of himself and his family, making connections that built bridges across countries and cultures, showing his photos and videos, visiting with and raising awareness about poor and abandoned children and about those who devote their lives to helping these children.

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