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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                   

Republic of Lebanon

Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism.  [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 Lebanon.  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 becoming a new problem on Lebanon's streets

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency) DPA, Beirut, 18 Mar 2008

[accessed 18 January 2017]

Street children are becoming a common sight in Beirut, some begging at traffic intersections, others wiping off dirty car windows, and others just hanging around with searching eyes that clearly show the kind of life they are living. Zeina, 10, is one of the unfortunate ones, who due to family circumstances are forced to try to sell some chewing gum before nightfall so she can return home with something to feed her sister, brother and sick mother.

Zeina, with her green eyes, taps on a car window wither dirty little hands, begging to sell her chewing gum before nightfall. "So please buy one, I have to sell them all in order to buy bread for my family," Zeina pleads, with tears in her eyes.  The little blonde girl said she has mainly lived on the streets since she was eight to help her family survive.  "I have been begging, selling roses, chewing gum, or washing windows since I was eight," she said. "My father left us because my mother got sick."


*** 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 17 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - It is common for children to earn family income by working in the fields or begging in the streets.  Non-Lebanese children constitute 10 to 20 percent of children working in the formal sector, but make up a larger share of children working on the street.

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 9 February 2020]

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] In December 2004 the MOL completed a study on working street children, which provided a snapshot of the condition and nature of street children in the country. The report showed that the average street child was a boy (9 percent were girls), foreign (only 15 percent were citizens, the others were most often Palestinian and Syrian), 12 years of age, and poorly educated or illiterate. Street children were concentrated in large urban centers where approximately 47 percent of them were forced to work long hours on the streets by adults. The most common types of work were selling goods, including lottery tickets, shoe polishing, and washing car windshields. The children earned between $2 and $15 (3 thousand to 25 thousand pounds) per day. Only 19 percent of the children interviewed said they kept their income.

LEBANON: Government could do more to tackle child labour

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Beirut, 18 July 2007

[accessed 10 March 2015]

Abdullah lives like no eight year-old-boy should. Two years ago, the youngster from Raqqa, a town in the north of Syria on the banks of the River Euphrates, travelled to Lebanon with his three brothers, looking for work.  Today, Abdullah lives with around 20 other workers in a ramshackle encampment on a patch of wasteland in Lailaki, a poor suburb of south Beirut.  By night, the boy picks through the city’s rubbish, hoping to find objects of value.  By day, instead of going to school, Abdullah sorts through his discoveries with his “boss”, an aggressive middle-aged woman who claims to own the camp and who, Abdullah says, beats the children if they do not make her enough money.  A few hours sleep in a filthy, cramped tent with no heat or running water and a bowl of rice is his reward.

Eter estimated Lebanon has as many as 5,000 street children, 80 percent of them foreigners mainly from Syria, Jordan, Iraq or the Palestinian territories, who carry no identification papers and who therefore cannot attend state school and can be arrested any time.

LEBANON: Street children - victims of organised crime

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Beirut, 3 Jul 2006

[accessed 10 March 2015]

In Beirut, you can find street children at almost every major traffic intersection, washing car windows, selling chewing gum or begging. Their dirty little hands tap the car window while their bright eyes look into yours in search of signs compassion.

Samir is only 12 years old, but living on the streets has made him grow up quickly. Palestinian of origin, his story is a sad –but all too common – one. “I’ve been begging since I was eight,” he said. “My mother left when I was five, and now my father beats me and makes me beg for money.”

Information about Street Children - Lebanon [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 13 June 2011]

Most children on the streets spend their days selling trinkets or begging for their parents/other family members before returning home at night. However, there is a small number for whom the street is their permanent residence, and these are usually children who have suffered emotional and/or physical abuse within their families due to poverty, overcrowding, or family disintegration.

LEISWAD Home of Hope

Mennonite Central Committee, Global Family Program stories, July 2005

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

[accessed 13 June 2011]

Mohammed, 15, came to Home of Hope about three years ago from the streets of the Rauche section of Beirut. Rauche is known as a wealthier neighborhood, an upper class business section; therefore, a good place to shoplift and beg. Mohammed, due to an abusive father and stepmother at home, took to the streets at age six and by age nine was employed by an auto mechanic who paid him less than $5.00 per week, working him hard and mistreating him. Once out on the streets, Mohammed did as many street children do, he turned to glue sniffing for his highs.

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