by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Image Source: Radio New Zealand
Children selling on the streets in the night and during the school hours to earn income is a growing concern in Samoa. Over the years, despite government efforts into combating the issue, the problem has increased dramatically and today, calls for immediate measures to curb it.
In a recent event, footage from a CCTV camera posted online, has shown three children attacking a homeless person late in the night.
According to Samoa’s Assistant Police Commissioner, Fauono Talalelei Tapu, there is no law to address this issue, and as a result, the number of children engaged in selling on the streets has increased and continues to be a problem.
One of the reasons pushing children to engage in such activities is the pressure exerted on them to carry out financial responsibilities for their families. This has seen more and more children engage in selling on the streets, both in the night and during their school hours.
In a survey conducted in 2015 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on children under the age of 18, working as street vendors, found that; the children worked at least 1 hour in the production of goods and services; were used by businesses to sell their products; while some lived on the streets during weekdays; and returned home on the weekends. The results further found that the age group of most of these children engaged ranged from ages 6-to-17 and were living with their parents.
Now, with the increase in the number of children engaged in this activity, more concerns have been raised by parents and responsible organisations to implement tough measures to combat the issue as it affects not only the children’s upbringing but their education and their future.
According to Assistant Commisioner Fauono, the only way to addressing the issue is to change the Compulsory Education Act, which states it is illegal for children to be on the streets before 3pm.
Samoa’s MP, Faumuina Wayne Fong, has called on for tougher laws to control the growing issue.