‘Women begging with babies is child abuse’ – Police

Woman sitting at the intersection of the robots with her child. Picture: Rosebank Killarney Gazette

“Giving these women money keeps them coming back, and worse, keeps the syndicate going.”

Police have sounded an alarm on child abuse by adults who reportedly force children to beg on the streets and at the robots.

Douglasdale police spokesperson Warrant Officer Balan Muthan has called for stricter measures to protect the children that sit with women who beg on the streets, Rosebank Killarney Gazette reported.

This comes after numerous complaints from residents about these women.

“It is child abuse,” added Muthan.

He urged motorists to refrain from giving money to women who use children to beg for money at intersections.

“Many of these women are con artists, they move around from one intersection to the other, sometimes with a different child,” he said.

Muthan added there was a syndicate in Johannesburg specialising with hiring out children for the sole purpose of begging.

“Giving these women money keeps them coming back, and worse, keeps the syndicate going,” he said.

Fourways resident, Rentia Nel, said she usually saw a mother and child begging on the corner of Uranium and Cedar roads.

“She [the woman] sits in the middle of the road with the child and sometimes you cannot even see them. My heart bleeds for them but they are exposing themselves and others to danger,” she said.

Nel said police to clear the streets of these young children. I don’t care if the mother decides to continue, but somebody needs to protect these children.

Muthan confirmed that women who used children to beg for money would be arrested and investigated.

Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini on National Child Protection Week (May 31 to June 7) last year urged South Africans to be wary of child exploitation in their communities.

In order to assist those communities working to create safer environments for children and families, government developed Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Child Exploitation.

The guide outlined factors that may assist members of the public, teachers and caregivers in identifying a child at risk or a victim of child exploitation, including child labour, child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.

These include evidence of abuse, an employer withholding identity documents, not being in school or showing significant gaps in attendance, substance dependence, a child speaking a non-South African language, children spending unusually long hours at entertainment areas or hotels or children keeping inappropriate adult company (with known or unknown persons).

Dlamini said citizens – especially parents, teachers, caregivers and people working with children – must educate themselves on the factors that make children vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking in order to prevent it from taking place.

– Caxton News Service

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