Street children as they are called are vulnerable to a variety of problems including physical, psychological and sexual exploitations as well as social isolation.
Drug use, stress, depression lack of basic needs, and being out of school are the common problems these vulnerable groups face.
Therefore, this article is to point out the experience of sexual and physical exploitation and its determinant factors among street children in Rwanda.
In this past month in Kamonyi District some boys reported a case of a 40 years old man who abused them sexually multiple times on different occasions.
This is one among many unreported crimes committed against children who are suffering silently or openly where the society are paying a blind eye.
Talking to some children we met on the streets one of them ,told us that“ After my parents death , me and my siblings were sent to live in different families but the unhealthy relationship with relatives forced me to be on street i decided to flee to search for work but i ended up here in this life”.
For those children street is the world characterized by misery deprivation, physical, verbal and sexual abuse and daily victims of violence.
There is no safe place for children on-street they are involved in all types of sex; heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual and group sex among themselves and out siders,many are highly involved in transactional sex for survival.
The fact that children protection professionals are still few on local level another problem is budget in case of violence, children and parents doesn’t know whom to reach for help, even those who are being picked from streets are kept in police cells with adults wich is a big risk.
Macibiri Uwera from Runda sector, said that “ My son flee home because of our daily fights between me and their father, we didn’t realize the damage it was doing to our children now here i am nursing my son after being sexually abused i regret ignoring my responsibilities, every parent should watch out for the behavior change of our children and learn to listen to them when they talk to you “.
Evariste Murwanashyaka, a member of the Human Rights Association (CLADHO), says that the problem of children on the streets has become widespread, but the fact is those children are being sexually abused is a serious matter to solve as soon as possible.
He said, “It is something that requires urgent advocacy, institutions needs to know that the problem exists and then find a solution together.”
Government agencies, with partners like UNICEF, and children’s rights organizations, often raise the issue of street children, but until now it has not been resolved.
Law No. 27/2001 of 2001 Relating to Rights and Protection of the Child Against Violence Article: 34
Anybody who rapes a child who is between fourteen years and eighteen years of age shall be sentenced to imprisonment of between twenty years and twenty-five years’ and be fined between one hundred thousand and five hundred thousand francs.
Any body who rapes a child aged below fourteen years of age shall sentenced to life imprisonment and be fined between one to two hundred thousand francs.
Twahirwa Umumarashavu Janat.