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Young Homeless in Egypt: Hungry Runaways and Victims of Rape

A story in BBC Arabic depicts the tragedy of young homeless people who live on streets of Egypt, whose number is anywhere between 200,000 and 1 million, one fourth of them below the age of 13.

According to a study by the National Center for Social and Criminal Studies, 31.6% of the nation's homeless are on the streets of Cairo. Among the runaway children, 92% are boys and only 8% are girls, reflecting the social mores of the society which tie girls closely to their families. Most of the girls and many of the boys are victims of rape by gangs. A girl who is raped cannot go back to her family and eventually begins to sell sex on the streets. Suham Ibrahim, the head of a shelter for runaway girls, said that sexual aggression against young girls on the street is “the a, b, c, of this phenomenon.”

BBCArabic.com, December 12, 2007

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