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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                               

Republic of Nicaragua

Nicaragua has widespread underemployment and the second lowest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Textiles and apparel account for nearly 60% of Nicaragua's exports, but recent increases in the minimum wage will likely erode its comparative advantage in this industry.  [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 Nicaragua.  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.


Extra-judicial Executions Of Street Children And Youth

Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (World Organisation Against Torture) OMCT, Geneva, 19 July, 2002 -- Child Concern, Case NIC 190702.CC, Extrajudicial Executions

[accessed 27 June 2011]

According to the information collected by Casa Alianza Nicaragua, at least 97 (ninety-seven) children and young Nicaraguans less than 23 years of age met violent deaths during the last eight months of the year 2001.  According to the reported information, 74% were young boys and youths, constituting the vast majority of the victims. 32% of the victims were less than 17 years of age

The Children of Nicaragua - Smiles and Suffering

Christoph Grandt, Managua, May 1999 -- published in the newspaper Central America Weekly

[accessed 27 June 2011]

They have to spend 5 Córdobas for a tin of glue. They live on the streets of Managua together with some 15.000 children between 7 & 14 years of age. Ten times higher is the number of those who, although having a place to live, are living depending on survival strategies.

The Precarious Situation Of Nicaragua's Street Children

Adrean Scheid, MESOAMERICA Institute for Central American Studies, January 1995

[accessed 27 June 2011]

Pablo and Walter stand outside of the bakery behind the Supermarket La Fe, begging for money from the middle-class patrons who enter. Their clothes are torn and dirty, and the calluses on their feet testify that they have never owned a pair of shoes. Although they are both ten years old, neither one has ever attended school.


*** 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 12 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - In urban areas, children work in the streets selling merchandise, cleaning car windows, or begging.  Some children are forced by their parents to beg, and some are “rented” out by their parents to organized groups of beggars.

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 10 February 2020]

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] The government reported that child labor occurred in both urban and rural areas, primarily in the informal sector, including family ventures. In Managua more than six thousand children worked on city streets, selling merchandise, cleaning automobile windows, or begging. The Ministry of Labor continued to report that some children were forced to beg by their parents, and that some parents rented their children to organizers of child beggars. Thousands of children scavenged in garbage dumps to salvage items to use and sell, and in rural areas children worked on farms and in abandoned mines. Tens of thousands of children also labored as domestic workers.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 June 2005

[accessed 12 December 2010]

[66] The Committee is concerned at the growing number of street children living in the State party, especially in Managua, as well as at the increasing emergence of street youth gangs (pandillas) in the country, of which over 100 are believed to operate in the capital Managua.

[68] The Committee is concerned at the endemic abuse of substances among street children and members of youth gangs.

From streets of Nicaragua, tales of abuse, despair, rescue

Monsy Alvarado, The Record (Bergen County, NJ), Teaneck NJ, June 6, 2006

[partially accessed 27 June 2011 - access restricted]

Inhijambia was formed in 2000, amid a growing number of children from broken homes living in cardboard boxes, under bridges and under the remnants of earthquake-destroyed buildings, Aburto said. The youngsters are known as "huelepegas" -- "glue sniffers" -- because they are addicted to glue.  They wear ripped clothes and walk barefoot, and may have been sexually or physically abused by relatives, Aburto said.

"If these children don't come home with money they are not treated well, and that makes them turn to the street, where they believe they will have a better life," Aburto explained. "But their reality is very different."

Street Children And Juvenile Justice In Nicaragua

Casa Alianza Nicaragua and Consortium for Street Children, Spring 2004

[accessed 27 June 2011]

[accessed 26 December 2016]

This report provides a brief analysis of the situation of street children in Nicaragua, and the reasons for their arrival and prolonged existence on the streets. It examines the existing legal processes, terms and guarantees of national laws relating to juvenile justice in Nicaragua, primarily the Special Criminal Justice System for Adolescents, to identify the gaps and shortcomings that permit rights violations to occur.

Child Labor - Regional Activities : Latin America and the Caribbean

The World Bank Group

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

[accessed 27 June 2011]

Given the economic growth in the Latin American and the Caribbean region as a whole over the last decade, it is frightening that 90 million children - or almost 50 percent of all children on the continent - live in poverty. UNICEF reports that there are 100 million street children in the world, half of which are found in Latin America. In Honduras and Nicaragua, it is estimated that between 8 and 12 percent of all children and youth below the age of 18 are working and/or living in the streets. Due to rapid urbanization, inequitable income distribution, economic crises, natural disasters and poverty, the number is likely to increase in the near future.

¡ a la Vida! - The Nicaragua Street Kids Project

Jonathan Roise, co-founder of Si a la Vida

[accessed 11 Aug  2013]

[accessed 26 December 2016]

The process begins when the children are still in the street. Our field workers seek to gain their confidence by developing supportive, nonjudgmental relationships. They listen to the kids and ask questions to gently prod the child into talking and thinking about what caused his separation from his family and reflecting on the ugly reality of life in the street. Through a rudimentary process of consciousness-raising, the child is encouraged to realize that he has the power to decide to change his life, and that there is a place where he can do so.

Once in the residential center in Managua, Casa Nuevo Amanacer, he is provided with a flexible but structured environment in which the law of the street -- that the biggest and meanest rule -- does not apply. Through a process of group interaction and constant 24-hour-a-day therapy, he slowly becomes part of a new community based on self-respect and respect of others.

The Protection Project - Nicaragua [DOC]

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

[Last accessed 2009]

NONGOVERNMENTAL AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION RESPONSES - TESIS, the Association for Workers for Education, Health and Social Integration, was founded in 1992. TESIS has assisted 350 street children through programs that try to reestablish contact with family members and provide alternatives to life on the streets. TESIS also educates the children on HIV/AIDS issues.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Street Children - Nicaragua",, [accessed <date>]