Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 11:25 by Denis Chabrol
The Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) is cracking down on parents, who beg on the streets with their children to gain public sympathy, Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr Vindhya Persaud said.
Appearing on News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM’s ‘Beat The Clock’ morning programme, she said child begging, with the involvement of parents, amounts to mistreatment so that the parents could benefit. “It could also be exploitation if they are sending their child to beg and it is definitely exploitation when they are using their children to get money,” Dr Persaud said.
Child Protection Week is being observed this year under the theme “Together, let’s keep children safe.”
The Human Services Minister said those children were being removed from such difficult circumstances and placed in shelters, but so far none of the parents has been prosecuted. “We have had them on our radar. We have been picking them up from off the streets. In fact, if we are to go the very harsh way, we can charge those parents and I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that,” she said.
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is banking on “intense public awareness” through the three-year programme to curb child abuse rather than give the children and parents and parents money. “We want the public to not dole out money. We want the public to report it,” she said.
Persons who may be aware of children in distress are urged to call the 24 hours 914 hotline, or the Child Protection Agency (CPA) on 227 0979
The Ministry of Human Services appealed to parents to be wary of child abuse being perpetrated Online especially since most children have been at home on the Internet largely for Online classes. “We also notice it a lot in the system where people are learning… People are teaching and they get into the habit of that thing that we call ‘grooming’. We have had a few cases like that and those are things that we have to be vigilant about in the sense that parents have to be constantly asking their children when they are being taught or they are in mentorship group where there are differences in age, what are the kinds of conversations that they are having,” Dr Persaud said.
Government hopes that the three-year project would lead to the creation of cells in communities that would be trained to provide feedback and insights and offered counselling wherever necessary. From this week, Dr Persaud said initially specific communities would be targeted from this week.
Already, she said the Ministry of Human Services has been contacting the parents of children at traffic lights and on the streets. “We find that most of these children have parents and have homes so we’ve been working with the parents so it’s going to touching on a lot of areas under this broad area of abuse,” she said.