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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                         

Kingdom of Swaziland


In this small, landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies approximately 70% of the population. The manufacturing sector has diversified since the mid-1980s. Sugar and wood pulp remain important foreign exchange earners.

With an estimated 40% unemployment rate, Swaziland's need to increase the number and size of small and medium enterprises and attract foreign direct investment is acute. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and sometimes floods persist as problems for the future. More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2006-07 because of drought, and nearly two-fifths of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Swaziland

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Swaziland.  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.


Swaziland's Street Urchins

Vuyisile Hlatshwayo, Africa Information Afrique, in Mbabane, Mail & Globe, 21August 1997

[accessed 26 July 2011]

Nonhlanhla Hadzebe, a timid seven-year-old says: "The last time I saw my mother and father was when I was very little. I do not know where they are, but I know that they are still alive. At times I sleep without having eaten anything but I cannot complain -- to whom, anyway? I only pray to God that one day my parents will come back so that we can all be a family again."

The study finds that street children are often abused. Police spokesman, Sabelo Dlamini, said that old men sodomize boys often as young as aged nine to thirteen. Many are infected with sexually transmitted diseases. He says the street children are enticed with E10.00 for a sex session. Before the molestation, they are offered glue in order to keep them in "high" spirits during the act.

*** 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 27 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - UNICEF estimated that 11.8 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were working in 2000.  Children work in agriculture (particularly in the eastern region), and as domestic workers and herders.  Children are also found working on the streets as traders, hawkers, bus and taxi conductors, load bearers, and car washers.

CHILDREN - There were growing numbers of street children in Mbabane and Manzini. A large and increasing number of HIV/AIDS orphans were cared for by aging relatives or neighbors, or they struggled to survive in child‑headed households. Some lost their property to adult relatives. The National Emergency Response Committee on HIV and AIDS, a private group partly funded by the government and by international aid, and other NGOs assisted some AIDS orphans.

Street kids flood capital

Stories by Howard Mavuso, January 11, 2007

[accessed 8 January 2017]

JEREMIAH NHLABATSI (12) LAVUMISA - Just before my father passed way, my mother left us and I had to stay with my grandmother. After a few months, I was approached by a certain woman who promised me a job. I stayed with her for a year at Siphocosini and she made me cook for her and look after her cattle. She never paid me and I decided to run away. I am now staying around Mgababa in Mbabane with my friends. I have never been to school in my life.

GCINA NKHOMONDE (13) PHILA NKHOMONDE (12) MPAKA - We came to stay with our mother at Nkwalini but since she was going out with this man (step father) who would always come back home drunk, beat us up and tell us to go back to where we came from, we decided to run away.  We ran away because even our mother did not care about what was happening to us.

Please help - Municipal Council of Mbabane

January 11, 2007

[accessed 8 January 2017]

Public Relations officer of the Municipal Council of Mbabane Bongani Dlamini said they were greatly concerned about the street children around town.  He said the last time they were assisted by the Swaziland Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Offenders (SACRO). He said council might not know the real reason why the children decided to live their families, but they should be reunited with their families.

THE Swaziland Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of offenders (SACRO) says the public should stop spoiling street children by offering them money or gifts.

Swaziland country profile

BBC News

[accessed 26 July 2011]

Many Swazis live in chronic poverty and food shortages are widespread.   Aids is taking a heavy toll. With an adult HIV prevalence of 26 percent in 2007, Swaziland has the most severe level of infection in the world. The virus has killed many workers and farmers and has created thousands of orphans. Life expectancy has plummeted.

Traditional leaders rescue Swaziland's Aids orphans: A new programme uses Swaziland's traditional community structure to rescue Aids orphans from life on the street

James Hall, Daily Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg South Africa, April 5 2000

[accessed 26 July 2011]

[accessed 8 January 2017]

The Manzini-based Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse reports that some of the city's new population of homeless street children have become victims of sexual abuse.   Street children were unknown in Manzini and the capital Mbabane ten years ago, before Aids struck Swaziland to infect at least a fifth of the population.   "The tragedy of Aids orphans is that it is a social as well as medical problem," says social worker Gugu Made. "It is a cultural problem as well.   The traditional Swazi family structure, where many generations lived together on a homestead, has fragmented.   When parents in the prime of life die, other relatives may be overburdened, and grandparents physically unable, to look after children. Chiefs seem to know where alternative caregivers can be found.

SWAZILAND: Grassroots approach to orphan care

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN PlusNews, Mbabane, 22 September 2004

[accessed 10 March 2015]

"Street children are flocking to Manzini like no other place, and migrant workers hopeful of work are enlarging the informal settlement slums ringing the town," said AIDS activist Pholile Dlamini.  Out of a national population of 970,000, Swaziland has an estimated 50,000 orphans - a figure expected to climb to 120,000 in the next six years, due an adult HIV infection rate of 38.8 percent.

Swaziland's lost generation leaves the young in misery

Michael Wines, Sharon Lafraniere, New York Times, Lavumisa Swaziland, November 29, 2004

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 2 October 2011]

That is just the dead and the dying. There is also the world they leave behind. One in 10 children here is an orphan because of AIDS. They are street children, prostitutes and dropouts. It has forced grandparents, sisters and aunts to care for children they don't want. It has bred destitution, hunger and desperation.

Swaziland Association For Crime -Prevention And The Rehabilitation Of Offenders

Swaziland Government, Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs

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

[accessed 26 July 2011]

ACHIEVEMENTS - We have reconciled upward of 80 street children with their families;  We have returned most of the former street children to the formal education system;  We have solicited, and found sponsorship for almost all of them.

Common Country Assessment - Swaziland, 1997

McDermott, M.D., Mbabane, Swaziland Child Protection Report, 1997


[accessed 15 October 2012]

4.2 Child Rights And Protection

[accessed 8 January 2017]

[page 30]

The emergence of street children is a comparatively recent phenomenon, still puzzling to many. This is because the breakdown in social structures, including landlessness, has not yet occurred in Swaziland to anywhere near the same extent as some other developing countries. The problem is increasing all the time, as population and unemployment pressures mount. Recent publicity concerning the plight of street children - including physical and sexual abuse, and substance abuse by the children themselves - preceded the provision of shelter and food by a private concern in Mbabane.

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