Street children in UNICEF’s most recent definition is describes street children as as “any girl or boy… for whom the street (in the widest sense of the word, including unoccupied dwellings, wasteland, etc.) has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood; and who is inadequately protected, supervised, or directed by responsible adults.” Street children a result of economic problems for many countries and Mexico is no exception. Mexico one of the most populated Latin American countries also with a large wealth inequality among their people. For example in Mexico city about forty percent of the population live in poverty and street children are within the poverty population. Mexico’s economic inequalities have lead families to make their children work on streets or in worst cases abandon their children. This form of life is not a choice but a results of: international, national, and domestic issues that primary relate to poverty. This examination of Mexican street children focuses on: how society and economy has shaped the lives of street children, what street children survive and cope , and analysis on their human rights. These children are street children because they are victims of the economy and society structures.
Definition of Street Children by UNICEF:
“any girl or boy who has not reached adulthood, for whom the street (in the broadest sense of the word, including unoccupied dwellings, wasteland, etc.) has become her or his habitual abode and/or sources of livelihood, and who is inadequately protected, supervised or directed by responsible adults” (Inter-NGO, 1985).
Street Children Lives
Economy and Society Shaping Lives of Street Children
An economic crisis in the late twentieth century occurred in Mexico like most Latin American countries. These events was bad news for the Mexican economy and the the Mexican people since unemployment rates and the need for government aid increased. Government aid increased for programs that benefit families in poverty but often these programs and government could not keep up with their people’s needs. The insufficient families incomes lead to families: putting children to work, domestic violence, and sometimes abandoning children. These street children just became a “new burden” for society. Since their livelihood either mostly or all on the streets of Mexico.
Street Children Survive and Cope: Poor, Hungry and Addicted
Streets children are at higher risk for danger that later on affects them as adults. Street children are either beggars or wage earners. These children will go through hunger and depression and learn how to cope with drugs but when they do find food it is often a bad source of waste food. This leads to malnutrition, illnesses, or even death. Apart from the bad health exposes they are also exposed to the criminals lives like violence and illegal substances. Society and the government shame people of the streets because they are burdens, “violent”, beggars, etc. Many people generalize street children as criminal and junkies rather than vulnerable children. Discrimination for having a livelihood on the street influences society and human rights of these people.
Violations of Rights of Street Children
Street children are seen as less of citizens because of societal discrimination. Barriers to overcome the status of life they are in are made more impossible to overcome since they do not have the resources. If they do have resources(educations ,programs , etc) only some can obtain the help. In the majority street children feel like “unseen and ignored”. Their human rights violated go in depth in the dossier.
Video on Mexican Street Children
Group 3: Stephanie Aparicio, Edgar Cuautle, and Christina Vo.