Sierra Leone: Street Children Risk Exploitation
Concord Times (Freetown)
8 January 2008
Posted to the web 14 January 2008
A child right organization in Freetown Monday revealed that hundreds of street children are at risk of being exploited and abused in a country where there is increased illiteracy rate.
Director of Concern for Children and Youth Organization (CCYO) Sierra Leone, George Freeman told journalists in Freetown that children and teens have become victims of drug industrialists, human traffickers and prostitutes due to poverty and lack of family support.
He said: "The ten year rebel war, to a large extent, created the hazard that has today become a stigma in our society," adding, "the vulnerability of street children in the country has led to the spate of violations in all facets of society." Freeman said thousands of street children need protection and care but these are not forthcoming.
He observed: "If we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, children must be educated as they are the greatest investment that will enhance the socio-economic status of Sierra Leone." Director of Amnesty International, Brima A. Sheriff said the problems faced by children in the street must be treated with urgency.
He said government needs to know that there are lots of children who are suffering in the street and they should be taken care of.
Memunatu Turay, who has been in the street for two years, said she was residing with her uncle at Allen Town but his uncle was not treating her fairly.
"I was left frustrated because my uncle’s children were going to school and having other facilities while I was sitting at home. I have now decided to stay in the street where I am more peaceful," she claimed.