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Iraqi Children Exploited on Streets

More than 100,000 minors are working on the streets of Iraq as a result of social difficulties and the security situation, according to an Iraqi children’s rights group.

Head of the Organization for Care and Qualification of Children in Iraq Hind ‘Salal Al Shanin told the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat that minors are often subjected to sexual assault. Homeless children have become a common sight in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, she said.

Al Shahin pointed out that the social situation on Iraq’s streets is worse than ever.

She explained the security situation has put many adults out of work and children are dropping out of school to help their parents make ends meet.

Children work long hours sweeping streets, working in factories, selling gasoline, or selling food in central squares and junctions for about two dollars a day.

The organization conducted studies and found that many young girls in Iraq are used as sex slaves and there have been instances where girls were kidnapped for this purpose and then murdered.

Gangs sell young girls for sums ranging from $170 to $340, studies found.

The organization said the Iraqi state needs to be built urgently and its society should be more informed about children’s rights.