The United Nations estimates that there are around 150 million street children in the world. This could be an underestimate as there are many ‘invisible’ children. Two of the conclusions of the State of The Worlds Children 2006 a UNICEF Document. (Ref 1) Around forty percent are abandoned, living without parental or any adult supervision. Ages range from three years to eighteen. The remaining sixty percent work on the streets as beggars, selling produce or as sex workers to raise money for their families. As a result they are excluded from any education and therefore trapped in poverty. Some details;
40% ( 60 million) of the world's street children are homeless.
60% ( 90 million)work on the street to support their families.
Many street children use a number of inhalants (glue, gasoline, lighter fluid) and illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine and heroin).
Street children are routinely detained illegally, beaten and tortured and in some countries sometimes killed by the police.
An estimated 40 million children live or work on the streets of Latin America--out of a total population of 500 million people.
Up to 10,000 street and underprivileged children die in Lima, Peru every year.
Brazil is estimated to have 12 million street children.
100% of street children in Brazil use drugs.
Mexico City has 1,900,000 underprivileged and street children, 240,000 of these are abandoned children.
India has a population of 1 billion with about 35 million orphans, many of whom live on the streets.
Africa has 10.7 million orphans as a result of AIDS and the numbers continue to grow.