203301 Child abuse and exploitation among children working in the streets of Latin America

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Angela Pinzon , Department of Family Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Lisa Benson, PhD , School of Public Health, Univesity of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD
Objective: To explore the prevalence and role of social determinants (school participation, social security affiliation and maternal coresidence) on the occurrence of occupational abuse and exploitation among children working in the streets.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of 641 children working in the streets of Bogotá (Colombia), Lima (Peru), Quito (Ecuador), and Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Results: One quarter of the sample reported physical or mental abuse while working. Mean age of the children was 11.85 years, 66% attended school, 37% had social security affiliation, 7% lived in the streets, and 71% resided with their mothers. Logistic regression models showed truancy to be the most significant predictor of child abuse. Children attending school were 48% less likely to report abuse (p<0.01, OR=0.52, SE= ± 0.11). Social security affiliation and maternal coresidence showed trends (p<0.1) as protective factors. An association was found between occupation type and abuse with children engaging in street performance reporting 48% less abuse and injury than children working as street vendors. Location was also a significant predictor of abuse. Children in Bogotá were 41% less likely to report being abused than children working in the streets of Sao Paulo.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence of an association between lack of social support and abuse to children working in the streets of Latin America. Children not attending school regularly were significantly more likely to be abused. Lack of maternal coresidence or social security affiliation were also associated with increased reports of abuse, but these associations showed only a trend.

Learning Objectives:
As a result of attending this session participants will be able to: 1) Describe the characteristics of children working in the streets of four Latin American cities; 2) Understand the prevalence of child abuse and exploitation among this working population; 3) Identify the factors related to child abuse and exploitaiton among this population.

Keywords: Children's Health, Latin American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a third year doctoral student at the University of Maryland studying Maternal and Child Health. I have previous exposure to child street laborers in Latin America and am collaborating with the prinicipal investigator who conducted this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.