Violence against street children

On the street, their situation is precarious. Street children live in filth and total insecurity. They have no rights and no access to education, health care or security. They are victims of different types of violence—they are beaten and kicked, they are victims of sexual violence, both boys and girls, and they face the risk of economic exploitation. Bandits and gangs, police and army use and abuse these children. Girls are particularly vulnerable to rape and sexual assault by soldiers and sentries guarding offices and buildings at night

Police and military violence
Some police officers help reintegrate street children into their families and protect them from adult violence. 
In Goma, for example, we found that the Special Police for the Protection of Children played a positive role (see below). 
But many street children live in fear of the forces that are supposed to protect them and all other civilians. 
They are threatened, robbed, beaten and harassed by members of the ordinary police, military police and army during the day as well as at night when they are sleeping. 
Threatened with arrest and imprisonment, children are forced to hand over their money or material goods to men in uniform.
Worse still, the police recruit children to steal and loot and in return they receive part of the loot or a small sum of money. 
More generally, the police use street children to help them in frame-ups, to provide surveillance at the scene of a burglary or to act as decoys. 
Children are also forced to provide information about other street children or other suspected criminals. 
Children who perform these tasks for the police risk being imprisoned or beaten if they do not comply.

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