Street children in Indonesia*
● Age: the average age at which children had started working on the streets was 10–12 years (boys) and 9–12 years (girls).
● Working hours: only 4% of children worked fewer than 4 h a day, and less than 2% worked fewer than 2 days a week.
● Work: children worked as hawkers, street singers, scavengers, shoe shiners, beggars, parking attendants, and market labourers.
● Housing: 74% of boys and 83% of girls lived with their parents. The rest lived in huts or semipermanent housing such as boxes, train wagons, and floors of malls.
(boy, 15 years) had been living in train stations for over 3 years. Hopping on and off the train was something he did every day.
One evening he jumped off a moving train in Jatinegara station (Jakarta) and the train struck one of his feet. His left foot below the knee was broken. He fainted and no-one brought him to the hospital. One of his friends knew a Catholic priest nearby who took care of homeless children. The priest took him to hospital. Mansyur's left foot was amputated.
● Didik (boy, 13 years) was almost asleep in the Jatinegara station when the security police caught him, accused him of having littered the station, and ordered him to lick the floor to clean the dirt.
● Aryo (boy, 12 years) was brought to a police station and accused of stealing. The police put a hot iron on his lap until he acknowledged his crime.
● 12-year-old boy: “He asked me to accompany him sightseeing. Then he said: 'little brother, do you like a Walkman?'. 'Oh sure, I like that', I replied. 'Then take off your pants and tilt up your rear end' he said. I wanted that Walkman desperately, so I closed my eyes and suddenly I felt something was inside me and it was painful. I was ashamed and in serious pain. I said 'Ouch, it hurts. Please stop!
Please do not do that to me!'. It was a terrible experience. He left without giving me the Walkman. He gave me 5000 IDR (US$0·5). I learned my lessons and I won't get close to a man like that again."
● 13-year-old boy: "I could not refuse since he gave me meals. I let him do what he did to me sexually. It was very painful when he did it for the first time. Now I am ok. I do not feel the pain anymore. I could even enjoy the act."
Irwanto (e-mail: email@example.com)
Center for Social Development Studies, Atma Jaya Catholic University, Jakarta, Indonesia
*From a demographic survey of 8035 boys and 1228 girls in 12 cities in Indonesia (Irwanto, Sanie SY, Prasadja H, et al. Internal report to Asian Development Bank, 2000).
Child murders in Central America
towards crime, and the formation of a special police unit to investigate child murders. More than 60% of these murders have yet to be adequately investigated—illustrating either an inept police force or an unwillingness to investigate certain crimes. Of the
565 murders that have been investigated, a third were committed by police, a third by vigilantes, and a third by gang members killing their rivals in a turf war.
Murdering homeless children, although pragmatic in the sense of getting rid of the problem, is hardly acceptable to most people. Casa
Alianza is pushing for the
Honduran government to fulfill its legal obligations to investigate the murders of children and youths and bring the perpetrators to justice—whether they are uniformed or not. We cannot accept that any children, anywhere in the world, are disposable or so-called throw aways. Those of us who have the privilege to live in a democracy must call upon our elected officals and government leaders to ask the Honduran authorities to stop the slaughter of these children.
In Honduras, 69 children and old, hungry and tired, 15-yearyouths younger than 23