Children working on the streets take part in a performance at an event in Karachi, Pakistan.

Sexual assault, abuse and insults.

These are just some of the dangers children living on the streets and roundabouts of Karachi, Pakistan face on a daily basis.

“It is too hard to live in fear all day long,” one boy told an event organised by DevCon, a member of the Destination Unknown campaign . “Whenever I step outside onto the street for begging, it seems that everyone is hostile and hungry.”

Other children told similar stories to the journalists, politicians and civil society organisations who attended the event. One boy, who collected recyclable materials from bins in order to sell them to collectors described how he had been sexually abused by people at collection centres.

“It is not just me; all children who work on the streets face a similar situation and get abused,” he said. “These humiliations cannot be explained in words.”

The event aimed to create a sense of protection amongst street children, and to encourage the State to both take additional measures to protect them and harvest their potential to bring about positive societal change through providing education. Some children also demonstrated their tableau and art skills to show how important going to school is to them.

DevCon’s Nisar Ahmed Nizamani called on the Pakistani government to reduce the hardships children living on the streets face by implementing relevant laws – such as the creation of a child protection authority.

Nazra Jehan from the Foundation for Research and Human Development – who also helped to organise the event – said that hundreds of children in Pakistan are on the move. She said many had become separated from their home, families and friends and were at serious risk of being used for illegal activities.

You can find out more about Terre des Homme Germany’s work with children on the streets here.

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