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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                   

Republic of Panama

Panama's dollarized economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for 80% of GDP.

Economic growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed by 2014 at a cost of $5.3 billion - about 25% of current GDP. The expansion project will more than double the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate ships that are now too large to transverse the transoceanic crossway, and should help to reduce the high unemployment


rate. Strong economic performance has reduced the national poverty level to 29% in 2008; however, Panama has the second most unequal income distribution in Latin America.  [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 Panama.  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.

*** 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 15 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are also found working in urban areas in Panama, especially in the informal sector, in street vending and performing, washing cars, and running errands for business or crime groups.  Children also work informally in urban markets and trash dumps.  Supermarkets reportedly allow young children to bag groceries in return for tips

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] Many children continued to work in the informal sector of the economy as street vendors, shoe shiners, cleaning car windows, washing cars, bagging groceries in supermarkets, picking trash, or simply begging for money. A 2005 ILO survey estimated 52 thousand children between the ages of 5 and 17 worked in the informal sector. The government estimated there were 15 thousand children employed or working on their own informally in urban areas of the country. Approximately 45 percent of these children did not attend school.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 June 2004

[accessed 15 December 2010]

[17] The Committee acknowledges the newly created Integrated System of Indicators for Development and the data collection by, inter alia, the centre for information and the Social Cabinet, but it is concerned about the continuing insufficiency of measures to collect disaggregated statistical data and other information on the situation of children belonging to the most vulnerable groups, in particular girls, street children, disabled children, children living in rural areas, refugees, asylum-seekers and indigenous children.

Feature Stories on Human Development Themes in LAC Region

The World Bank Group, Latin America and the Caribbean Human Development Notes (Vol. 1, No. 2, May 12, 2000), November 22, 2001

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

[accessed 3 July 2011]

Panama's Social Emergency Fund (FES) Indigenous Project is an integrated community project. Its five components support: intercultural bilingual education, community centers for promotion of health and sanitation, sustainable production and commercialization activities, organizational strengthening of communities, and school construction and rehabilitation.

Organization Created To Defend Children And Youth

Eva Aguilar, De La Prensa, 13 August 1996

[accessed 3 July 2011]

[Every second para in English] The Municipal Council of Panama has created the Municipal Board for the Defense and Development of Childhood and Youth, with the purpose of promoting the defense of rights of the child and young person. The expect, also, to bring special attention to the minors who work in the streets and who suffer mistreatment.

ROPE - Relief for Oppressed People Everywhere

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

[accessed 3 July 2011]

[05/00] The area where our ROPEHOLDERS work is one of the poorest in Panama.  They have been helping some children who cannot go to school because they have either no uniform or no books.

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 - Panama",, [accessed <date>]