Salima moves to protect street-connected children – Capital Radio Malawi
21 July, 2024

Salima moves to protect street-connected children

Salima District Council, through the Department of Social Welfare in partnership with Salima Police, on Tuesday embarked on a campaign to address the issue of street-connected children.

The collaborative effort is aimed at safeguarding the rights of children by ensuring their access to education and protection from exploitation in the streets.

Speaking during the exercise in the area of Senior Chief Kalonga, District Social Welfare Officer Edgar Kasiyafumbi said the initiative is aimed at removing children from street life, where they are vulnerable to various forms of abuse including physical and sexual exploitation.

He said during the exercise, over 10 children were taken off the streets and reintegrated with their families.

“A stern warning has been issued to parents and guardians regarding their responsibility to care for and educate their children, discouraging any involvement in street-based businesses,” he said.

Kasiyafumbi said it was revealed during the campaign that certain individuals and business people in the district were exploiting children by employing them to sell goods on the streets for a commission.

“This exploitative practice not only hinders children’s education but also exposes them to risks associated with street life.

Traders, as well as owners of football betting shops, bars, and lodges, were cautioned against employing minors, with the threat of severe repercussions for non-compliance,” he said.

Hardwel Chimonjo from Police highlighted ongoing police efforts to identify the root causes leading children to the streets. The efforts include conducting street outreaches, engaging stakeholders and awareness campaigns targeting businesses.

He said the goal is to reduce children’s vulnerability to abuse adding that collective action from parents, guardians, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations to safeguard the rights of children is paramount.

Chimonjo said this is done through collaboration between the police, stakeholders facilitated through the Station Executive Committee (SEC) and the community support.

He hailed community support, particularly from areas such as Kamuzu Road and Kamphatenga Trading Centers, for the fight against eliminating child abuse through exploitation.

“Citizens have even assisted by providing information on areas frequented by street-connected children, enabling targeted interventions. We plan to conduct similar campaigns regularly, and also raise awareness in key trading areas, the goal is to prevent children from loitering on the streets,” he said.

By Fyness Phiri

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