Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Peru's government to get rid of Lima's child labor and begging in 8 months?

In sixteen special operations, child labor and begging will be eradicated from Lima's streets in the next eight months, announced today Peru's Labor Minister, Susana Pinilla.

She affirmed that the aim was to get 35 to 40 children off
Lima's streets with each operation, assuring that child labor and begging could be eliminated from the capital's streets in sixteen sessions.

Pinilla explained that 60 percent of the children begging in Lima's streets were doing so because they were being exploited by someone else, while 40 percent was attributed to extreme poverty or family violence. She stated that poor children begged in the street because they did not have enough to eat at home. According to Pinilla, another factor that influenced begging was child abuse.

In an effort to help mothers and fathers learn how to treat their kids, Peru's Labor Ministry is also setting up parenting schools for parents that beat their children. Pinilla stated this was being done because there are a great deal of parents that have admitted to abusing their children.

Once children are taken off Lima's streets, they will be transported by bus to a health center, where they will undergo physical and psychological evaluations. "That is where we will know if the child is abused, if they have marks on their bodies", said Pinilla. "At that point we will make ourselves responsible for the child and take them to an orphanage."

Text courtesy of Living in Peru

This story was posted on Living in Peru News section on 19th February 2008. Since then, it has sparked off some very interesting and pertinent comments from readers -

"Will they really care for the kids in an orphanage? Will the children really get what they need? Will they have a better future???"

"I find it unfortunate that they did not pay any attention to these children before. And what about all those children in other cities and villages? Why only in Lima? I believe that the only reason to this now is to clean up their image before the APEC starts in November. After that it will be back to the daily practice."

"Poverty and marginalization destroy families and lead kids to the street. Not even 16 police operations can change that. How about sixteen operations to eradicate extreme poverty in Lima?"

The Colour of Hope seconds all three of these comments. There are now a good number of orphanages/children's homes in Lima, but not enough for 640 more children to be properly cared for. And dumping Lima's child worker population in care homes isn't going to solve the problem; it's just a plaster on the wound. It seems that "sixteen operations" is an awfully good way to appear to be doing something about the problem, whilst in reality, everyone knows it will only scrape the surface.

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