The Risks of Becoming a Street Child: Working Children on the Streets of Lima and Cusco

  • Talinay Strehl


The term ‘street children’ was introduced by UNESCO after World War II, but it was not until 1979, the International Year of the Child, that it became more commonly used. Street children are generally assumed to be children and adolescents who come from dysfunctional families and who chiefly live on the streets. The broad classification ‘street child’ is imperfect and leads to misunderstandings and inefficient policy. There is in fact a wide range of street use, associated with a wide variance in street life. Many forms of street life are not intrinsically harmful. A valuable distinction has been made between beneficial street use, the street as a space for assumed adulthood, the street as a sign of school exclusion and a runaway place of degenerative estrangement (Williams 1993). The latter, the category of totally abandoned children, is a minority. Many children in fact live with their families, go to school and hang around or play on the streets for a couple of hours per day. For another category of street children (the proto-adults), the street may offer the illusion of adult self-determination and liberation from the restrictions associated with normative childhood.


Sexual Abuse Child Labour Gang Member Street Child Illicit Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IREWOCLeidenThe Netherlands

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