At risk children in Ukraine
Estimates of at risk children living on the streets in Ukraine is thought to be greater than 90,000. This is in addition to the approximately 100,000 children living in State run orphanages. This estimate was taken before the current crisis with Russia in the Eastern region of Ukraine. The number of children on the streets in Ukraine currently has in all likelihood increased substantially due to the current economic and military crisis. Due to the inability of social workers and international organizations to access certain regions in Ukraine it is hard to come up with true numbers.
Who are these at risk children in Ukraine?
Most of the street children in Ukraine are what we call social orphans. That means that a large number actually do have at least one surviving parent but have been relinquished to the State for a number of reasons or have run away from an unstable situation at home. Many prefer life on the tough streets of Ukraine to an abusive home or orphanage which can sometimes be just as dangerous.
Substance abuse among the at risk children in Ukraine
Life on the streets is very hard, and many of the children turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their situation. It is calculated that 80% of the children on the streets turn to alcohol. A majority of street children huff glue. This staves off the hunger and helps keep them warm during the frigid Ukrainian winters. It leads to long term brain damage and neurological issues.
Studies performed estimate that 22% of youth on the streets were intravenous drug users, or IDU’s. *2
Many street children turn to sex work to survive on the streets
In order to survive on the streets many kids turn to sex work or “sex for reward” situations. Studies show that as many as 57.6% of the girls on the street have performed sexual services for money or in exchange for gifts.
It is believed that 7% of the male adolescents have had sex with other men either for monetary compensation or a forced instance. Of the youth reported to have had male to male sexual relations the rate of forced encounters is 49%.
Sexually transmitted diseases in Ukraine
Ukraine has the highest rate of HIV infection in Easter Europe. Especially vulnerable are the children living on the streets. Due to the high rate of intravenous drug use and unprotected sex services many of the at risk children on the streets of Ukraine are unfortunately at very high risk of sexually transmitted diseases. According to a study conducted among the street children in the city of Odessa it was found that 18% were HIV positive*1. The number alone is startling.
Many have Tuberculosis which complicates an HIV infection often leading to death.
Street children plagued by violence
A majority of the street children unfortunately are victims of violence. Many left abusive situations at home due alcoholic parents only to find further violence on the streets. Whether physical violence
A life of crime on the streets
Many of the young men eventually turn to a life of crime to support themselves and their habits. They initially turn to petty crimes like theft but eventually progress further into crime. Most eventually wind up in prison, where intravenous drug use is very high and the rate of infection for HIV and TB is astronomical. Without good medical care they live short lives.
And unable to cope…
In the end children are fragile and unable to deal with the stress and hardships of life on the street around 10% wind up taking their own lives before their 18th birthdays.
*2 Estimation of the Size of Population Most-at-Risk of HIV in 2009:Analytical Report, ICF International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine. — K., 2010.
Originally posted 2016-01-10 01:41:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter