|Outreach No. 96 - Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances - Part 1: Working and Street Children (New York University - TVE - UNEP - WWF, 68 p.)|
OUTREACH packs 96 and 97 are concerned with children in especially difficult circumstances. Within UNICEF, the term, children in especially difficult circumstances has been defined as working children, street children, abused, neglected and abandoned children, children in armed conflict and disaster. An explanation of these terms is as follows:
* Working children are those children whose work, whether part or full time, paid or unpaid, within or outside the family group, is exploitative and damaging to their health and/or development;
* The definition of street children is problematic, and is still in the process of being clarified. It is progressively being applied to those children living and working the streets who have tenuous links, or no ties at all, with their families, and who have developed specific survival strategies. These children may be exposed to specific risks such as use and abuse of dangerous substances, involvement in the production, processing and trafficking of drugs, exploitative work, sexual exploitation, discrimination, mistreatment and violence.
* Children endangered by abuse and neglect are those children who are, occasionally or habitually, victims of physical, sexual and emotional violence that is preventable and originates from their immediate surroundings. Child abandonment is considered a most damaging form of child abuse and neglect.
* Children in situations of armed conflict is a growing category of children involved either indirectly as victims, or directly as combatants, in war, civil strife and violence.
* Children affected by natural disasters are children who experience physical loss or damage, social and/or economic disruption, either by high impact disasters such as earthquakes or flood, or by slow-onset events, such as droughts and severe ecological degradation.
Other at-risk children include:
* users and abusers of dangerous substances which include drugs, and destructive chemical inhalants such as solvents, adhesives and fuel gases;
* children and adolescents that enter Into conflict with the law;
* adolescent mothers;
* sexually-exploited girls;
* children orphaned as a result of AIDS;
* children of migrants.
These categories are not mutually exclusive. Both street children and working children may often be exploited, abused and neglected. A natural catastrophe can lead to poverty which in turn can give rise to urban migration followed by family breakdown and child neglect which finally pushes a child to seek a life on the streets. Once on the streets, the need to survive and the need for company may lead the child into gang life which often results in early sex and street babies which are the next generation of street children.
Pack no. 96 focuses on the basically urban phenomenon of street children but it also includes materials on child labour. Pack no. 97 looks more closely at children (and others) affected by catastrophes, such as war and other political catastrophes, or natural catastrophes such as famine, cyclones and AIDS.