Cheated of Childhood – Russia
Russia’s metro stations have become home to a generation of street children, who survive by begging or prostitution.
At first sight, 11 year old Yuriy and his 13 year old friend Max look like normal, happy children. But after family problems forced them to leave home, they’ve been reduced to living on the streets. "For me, the most dangerous thing about living on the street is paedophiles," states Max. "I know a lot of people who have been abused." Despite this risk, both boys would rather remain homeless than return to their families. Max and Yuriy are just two of the millions of children thought to be living on the streets. Once homeless, many children turn to glue sniffing and become infected with HIV. The issue of street children is a relatively new problem for Russia. The collapse of communism triggered many family breakdowns, driving children as young as seven onto the streets. The fear is that if something is not done to help them now, it may be too late to save future generations.