Prevalence of Street Children in Pakistan

The accurate estimation of street children in Pakistan poses a significant challenge due to the absence of a reliable data collection system. Nonetheless, a widely cited figure from SPARC (Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child) suggests that there are approximately 1.5 million street children in Pakistan. However, this figure likely underrepresents the true extent of the issue, as many street children remain uncounted or unregistered, suggesting that the actual number could be substantially higher.

A report by SPARC, which surveyed 100 households in three provinces, found that 70% of children living on the streets were between 9 and 16 years old (SPARC, 2018). In addition, children aged 5-6 were found working on the streets in Multan, Peshawar and Quetta. In Pakistan, the public perception is that street children have no family and are associated with criminal gangs or mafias. However, the reality is different and varies depending on the context and the city. While some street children are unaccompanied, others may have a home to return to and strong ties to the community (NCRC 2022).

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