The phenomenon of child begging is on the rise in Accra lately as children have intensified the trade at busy intersections across the capital. Children aged 5 to 15 are often sent to these locations by their parents or guardians to beg from travellers and passersby especially drivers of private cars when the traffic lights turn red.
A tour by Myjoyonline to various locations revealed that apart from the children being exposed to the scorching sun, they also risked being knocked down by vehicles. Ghana’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, in July this year, appealed to the public, especially residents of cities to restrain from giving money to children engaging in begging, sometimes under dangerous circumstances on the streets.
Ms. Abudu was speaking at the Minister’s Press Briefing in Accra to update the public on the various programmes under the ministry. She said over the years, the number of child beggars had risen despite efforts of the government to rid the streets of these beggars, most of whom are foreigners who are either trafficked into the country or are forced by their guardians to engage in the humiliating activity.
Already, she said the government had repatriated about 400 of such foreign child beggars but was overwhelmed to note that many more had resurfaced on the streets only a few months after.
“We have done a lot to take them from the streets but somehow they find themselves back, we even repatriated 400 of them and engaged the embassies here but they find ways to come back so we have to stop giving money to minors on the streets because as adults I don’t see why we should be giving monies to six-year-olds on the streets,” Ms Abudu said.
She said the government did not have the resources to repatriate the child beggars presently on the streets but would encourage the public to shun them and desist from giving them cash to help force them out of the streets. “If you don’t give them today and I don’t give them tomorrow, next week they will be forced to leave the streets and move away,” the minister added.
By: David Andoh