IT is not an uncommon sight to witness street beggars with little children by their side, asking passing cars for spare change and hoping that the sight of a child might strike at the heartstrings of the public.
A social Worker from the Kingsburgh Child and Family Society, Sandra Govender, stated that adults using children to beg on streets are in violation of the Children’s Act.
She encouraged the community to report instances to the Welfare or SAPS if they witness this occurring. The welfare will then further investigate the claim to assess the situation.
“It could be genuine problems at home, or it could be that the children are victims of child trafficking, child labour or exploitation. This is why it is important to report these cases,” said Govender.
The Kingsburgh Child and Family Society can be contacted on 031 916 2274.
I Care, an organisation dedicated to rehabilitating street children, also indicated that many children being brought onto the streets by adults are not being brought by the parents of the child.
Gail Elson of I Care said: “We are aware that this is a growing problem and are working with the authorities in our city to try and sort it out. There are a number of steps that the authorities are carrying out — educating the adults and offering assistance and, if all else fails, they are warned that they stand to be arrested.”
“With regards to I Care, we feel that these adults are encouraging these children to beg from a very early age.
“They are teaching them all the wrong things and introducing them to a life on the streets where crime, drugs and prostitution are rife. Not to mention the safety of these little children who walk among the cars begging from money — some are so small that, as a motorist, one can barely see them,” added Elson.
The organisation also asked that the public not give money to beggars as it will only prolong their stay on their streets.
I Care have been successfully transforming the lives of street children for the past 16 years and are strongly appealing to the public to support them.
For further information contact I Care at 031 572 6870 or visit www.icare.co.za