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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                           

Bolivarian Republic of


Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 90% of export earnings, about 50% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP.

Fueled by high oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP by about 9% in 2006, 8% in 2007, and nearly 6% in 2008. This spending, combined with recent minimum wage hikes and improved access to domestic credit, has created a consumption boom but has come at the cost of higher inflation - roughly 20% in 2007 and more than 30% in 2008. Imports also have jumped significantly.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Venezuela

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


Venezuela: The silent cry: gross human rights violations against children

Amnesty International, Index Number: AMR 53/013/1997, Date Published: 30 September 1997

[accessed 15 August 2011]

CASES STUDIES INVOLVING THE EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING OF MINORS: Members of the Venezuelan security forces conducting anti-crime operations sometimes act with complete disregard for the right to life of children. Frequently, their attitude and actions are characteristic of a "social cleansing" policy, in which perceived criminal suspects, a category in which they include street children, are singled out for elimination.


*** 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 16 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - UNICEF estimated that 9.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Venezuela were working in 2000.  Children work in agriculture, street vending, artisanry, office work, and services.  Children are also involved in begging, petty theft on the streets, prostitution, and drug trafficking.

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 11 February 2020]

CHILDREN - CECODAP estimated that approximately 15 thousand children lived on the street. Authorities in Caracas and several other jurisdictions imposed curfews on unsupervised minors to cope with the phenomenon of street children. Because reform institutions were filled to capacity, hundreds of children accused of infractions, such as curfew violations, were confined in inadequate juvenile detention centers.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] The law protects children from exploitation in the workplace. The Ministry of Labor and the National Institute for Minors enforced child labor policies effectively in the formal sector of the economy but less so in the informal sector. The Foundation for Training in the Investigation of Human Resources estimated in 2004 that there were 1.6 million children working in various sectors of the labor market, including 206 thousand involved in prostitution, panhandling, or drug trafficking.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

21 May 2001,CESCR,CONCOBSERVATIONS,VEN,3cc7f9e86,0.html

[accessed 26 August 2011]

[16] The Committee is alarmed about the high rate of domestic violence and the extent of child prostitution and trafficking in children, and regrets the lack of available statistics on the number of street children. The Committee is deeply concerned about the extent of the sex trade involving children and the inability of the State party to address these issues.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue's news and views from Venezuela

Patrick J. O'Donoghue, News Editor, VHeadline Venezuela News, January 15, 2009

[accessed 15 August 2011]

Mistakes have been made, he recognizes, and the first attempt at dealing with the problem ended in failure. During his address at the National Assembly, Chavez declared that there are still street children in Venezuela but insists that they are not abandoned and can attend half-way centers where they will monitored after leaving by specially trained "street educators."

The old Institute of Minors (INAM) has been transformed, Chavez maintains, and around 278 children are interned in centers receiving integral attention. The government has introduced a scheme of substitute families to help children with problems as the first step in an adoption program. In 2008, 100 children in difficult circumstances were returned to their original families and 193 families have been assessed as possible adoption families for children in institutions.

Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee

Venezuela, 26/04/2001

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

[accessed 15 August 2011]

24. The Committee deplores the continually worsening situation of street children. Those children are at high risk of sexual violence and are vulnerable to sexual trafficking.

The State party should take effective measures for the protection and rehabilitation of street children, pursuant to article 24 of the Covenant, including measures to end sexual exploitation and child pornography.

Music saved the street children of Venezuela – could it work for Scotland too?

Ben Hoyle, Arts Reporter, The Times, August 13, 2007

[accessed 15 August 2011]

[accessed 15 January 2017]

In the violent slums of Venezuela, free classical music lessons have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and created an unlikely production line of virtuosos.  For 32 years El Sistema (the System) has tackled the “spiritual poverty” among some of South America’s poorest street children by teaching them to play Bach, Beethoven and Mahler in orchestras.  Now El Sistema is coming to Britain, where project organisers hope that it will rescue a generation of children on one of Scotland’s most notorious housing estates.

Chavez Frias defends his record in protecting street children and excluded sectors

Patrick J. O'Donoghue, News Editor, VHeadline Venezuela News, October 11, 2006

[accessed 15 January 2017]

The mission aims to provide integral attention and protection to children and adolescents living on the streets, old people abandoned and living in extreme poverty and pregnant teenagers.  The program also seeks to help persons with physical disabilities, tramps, and all those who are living conditions of social exclude exclusion.  The President is committed to getting rid of misery in all communities.

View From Venezuela

John, Germany, December 08, 2004

[accessed 15 August 2011]

Our own institutions dealing with children (INAM) report more than 200,000 Venezuelan street children engaged in thievery and prostitution and more than one million children as street peddlers. The Economic Commission for Latin America, ECLAC, reports that Venezuela was the only Latin American country in which hunger increased.

Reports to Treaty Bodies - Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, April/May 2001

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

[accessed 15 August 2011]

The Committee also expressed concern about the following: … the extent of child prostitution and of trafficking in children, the lack of available statistics on the number of street children, the extent of the sex trade involving children and the government's inability to address these issues; the alarmingly high level of poverty, especially among the indigenous peoples; the failure to integrate economic, social and cultural rights into the government's anti-poverty program.

President Hugo Chavez Of Venezuela

Steve Ellner, ZMagazine

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

[accessed 15 August 2011]

The First Lady, Marisabel Rodríguez de Chávez, who has played an active role on behalf of children rights in general, and street children in particular, was elected to the Constituent Assembly with the second largest vote in 2000. She proposed the creation of an institution called The Defender of the Rights of Children that would encourage children to come forward and denounce abuses.


Chevron Corporation

[accessed 15 August 2011]

Communities prosper when people have the ability to help themselves and are supported by an environment that enables them to pursue their ambitions. Education and training are central to building this capacity and sustaining long-term economic development. We focus our investments on school- and work-based career and technical programs. We sponsor reading, science and math classes. And we help train educators.

Street Children Used As Political Tool In War On Government

Patrick J. O'Donoghue, News Editor, VHeadline Venezuela News, May 20, 2003

[accessed 15 August 2011]

President Hugo Chavez Frias is said to be annoyed by the success of the Cisneros Organization's telethon for street children last weekend, which netted $4.37 million in two days.  According to the organizers, the funds will be used to construct a site that will harbor 600 children in need.

The Process and the 'Strike' - Justin Podur interviews Diana Valentine

Diana Valentine, ZNet, January 19, 2003

[accessed 15 August 2011]

[accessed 15 January 2017]

THE OPPOSITION SHOWS ADS SAYING THAT CHAVEZ HASN'T SOLVED THE PROBLEM OF STREET-CHILDREN.  WHAT DO THE COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS SAY ABOUT THIS? - UNICEF estimates there are 7,000 street children here, but the community organizations think it's closer to double that.  I met with two women who have been doing community work in the barrios for over 20 years with street children.  They don't blame Chavez for it and they don't think Chavez made any false promises.  They quoted him as saying that the plan was to 'dignify the street children', and they use that to guide them in their work.

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 - Venezuela",, [accessed <date>]