By Nation Reporter
THE growing number of children begging on the streets of Lusaka has raised concern among residents who are now calling on law enforcers to take quick action by arresting guardians and parents who send their kids to beg.
The residents claimed that most of the children begging on the streets did not do so on their own, but were sent by their parents and guardians to make quick money.
James Mwanza, a street vendor in the central business district, observed that only a few children begging on the streets were genuinely homeless. He alleged that most of the children roaming the streets were just being used by selfish and irresponsible parents.
“It is sad that there are parents and guardians out there who will encourage their children to beg on the streets, most of them come from homes and sometimes their parents who are abled even wait for them,” Mr. Mwanza said.
Another street vendor at Kulima Tower bus station Towela Nyirongo noted that some parents and guardians opted to use children to beg for money because they were aware that people were easily moved by children.
She urged law enforcers to look into the matter and arrest all parents whose children were roaming the streets.
“They opt to use children to make money because they know that children have an innocent face and people will easily be moved and give them money, but that should not be that case.
“My appeal to the law enforcers is that they should arrest all parents that are sending their children on the streets to beg for money,” she said.
And Media Network on Children’s Rights and Development (MNCRD) executive director Henry Kabwe said that there was need for the relevant authority to scale up efforts in making sure that the Zambian law on child care and protection by both parents and guardians was followed.
Mr Kabwe said there was need to create a huge awareness on the Children’s Rights and Protection Act so that people were made aware of their duties and responsibilities as a way of doing away with child street begging.
“As a parent you are supposed to look after your child, you must protect that child from exploitation, abuse and even neglect, not to send them on the streets to make money for you.
“To everyone, if you give children money it means you are pulling them to come next day for another round of begging. If people have extra money to spend, the best way is to use the right channel,” Mr. Kabwe said.