Story By: Shogenyinbo Yetunde
Street hawking by children especially the girls has been a common thing in most parts of developing and undeveloped world.
It is not anything good. It does not only end on children’s hawking but there are causes and its effects on the society at large. Irrespective of the causes and effects of children’s hawking on the streets of many parts of the world, possible remedies/solutions can be applied by the governments, parents and sponsors to solve the challenging issue.
Before writing further on this piece, Who is a child? A child is defined as any person less than eighteen years of age. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defined a child as a young human being below the age of full physical development.
Street hawking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of female by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments, benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over the child for the purpose of exploitation (ANPPCAN 2010). ANPPCAN stands for African Network on Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect.
On many occasions, children who were being sent out for hawking business asked themselves questions why they were busy carrying trays from street to street to make money for their madams while their other mates were busy going to schools. Most trafficked and poor children who fall victim to this inhuman and intimidating condition are always busy preparing for their hawking business while the other privileged children of their mate are seen rushing to schools so that they will not be punished by their teachers. What a pitiable condition.
The most heartbreaking of it is that the madam to these trafficked children hardly buys good cloths for these children for the hard work they do. Early in the morning even at cold weather condition, these children are seen on the streets wandering like sheep without shepherd.
Causes of Child Street Hawking
A number of factors have propelled the world children into hawking in various streets. It is not as if the children are not happy to join their mates in schools to enjoy the breeze of good Western Education but something caused such condition to take place among the children. Hence, the causes of street hawking by children are:
Poor family planning;
Poverty – Poverty is bad and can push people into situations they do not want to find themselves.Yes, poverty has contributed greatly to child street hawking. Because parents cannot afford enough money to eat in their homes not to even talk more of the one they will use to pay for their school fees, they make efforts to buy trays for their children and fill them with some edible materials to be sold on streets to people and road travelers. These children in the course of street hawking meet their ancestors through there by road accidents.
Religion – There are some religious practices and believes that send the children to the streets to start begging for money. Some of these children in the course of carrying out their religious duties fall prey of some hungry men in the society. A notable example is the one that occurs in Nigeria among Islamic religion.
This is a situation whereby some children are sent out by their leader called the mallam to go to the streets of the country and beg for food and money. Some in the process of doing this find their ways to other locations of the country where they save some money and start hawking on the country’s streets.
Poor Family Planning – There are men that know how to easily impregnate their wives but find it difficult to train their children. They are always fast to do their “inner works” very well but say they cannot kill themselves in training the products of their “inner works”.
There is an adage that says that “gathering all the cocoyam out is not the same with cultivation of the cocoyam”. That is to say that giving birth to a dozen children is not the same with training of those children.
There are families that gave birth to too many children but all the children are being handed over to other persons. The parents begin to think on how to get support to train the children and this ends up sending the children to the streets to make money. They make money through hawking of goods on streets for people to buy and pay them.
Child trafficking – Child trafficking is an act against the Law but traffickers are still engaging in such dirty business. Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation (Research Clue 2014).
In some countries, women in the cities visit rural areas and meet mothers who they think can easily agree for them to take their daughters or sons to the city where they stay. The poor parents usually think that the persons they handed over their children will take care of them properly without knowing that they have subjected their children to the modern day slavery known as child trafficking.
The city women usually go to some other parts of the rural areas to gather as many children they want and finally travel to the cities with them. When the children get to the cities, they would be surprised to see that they were trafficked and hence do not know how to make their ways back to their locations (their parents homes).
The “business women” usually hand these children to other people who subject them to hawking on the streets of the cities. Some of these children were usually raped and exploited while hawking on the streets.
Wars – A wise government does anything within his power to see that anything that can lead to war is eliminated. The reason is because wars have many disadvantages. When wars occur, children usually go fatherless and motherless as the breeze of wars come with many killings and bloodshed. The blood that was shed during wars is usually that of the parents of various children.
When these children loose the people that care for them as a result of wars, some persons take care of them which are not as excellent as how their parents usually did. They are most times subjected to street hawking as their parents are no longer alive to house and cloth them properly.
Illiteracy – There are locations in the world that have parents with high illiteracy level. These kinds of parents do not pay any good respect to education.
They are bankrupted on the importance of education to nations . Because they lack the knowledge on how education can transform people to be better, they prefer to send their children to the streets where they will make money for them.
Effects of Child Hawking
The effects of street hawking by children are, but not limited to:
Prostitution and rape;
Gang stealing; and
Prostitution and Rape – There are many people that have made their bodies their own business set-up all over the world. The sole business of these women is to surrender their bodies to any man that needs them at any moment in exchange of money.
Prostitution is a bad way of living because there are many dangers associated with it. The prostitutes we see in various buildings started it small and became professionals in the business.
Some started when they were young as a result of hawking on the streets and become experts to their adult ages. On the other hand, many young girls that hawk goods on streets as street children have on many occasions been raped by their superiors.
Poor Education – When will the children have time to go school when they are busy making money for their heads (the persons that sent them for such functions)? In fact, attending education is a history among most street children.Because these children were deprived the benefits associated with education, they face difficulties in their future lives.
It is either they do not make enough money for their success in life or that they do not get employed to the places where they will be paid well as they have no qualifications. Some of them find themselves in the military and end up losing their lives in wars.
Gang Stealing – Because street hawking children are exposed to a lot of negative things, they can form a group that go out to steal people’s properties. They were always on the streets making possible efforts to make money hence lacking in morals. Out of hunger, they can make plans on how to troop into areas and steal.
Most of them in the course of doing this may get shot by security men and that ends their journey in life.
Moral Decline – Street hawking children are not properly equipped in moral practices.
This has been affecting most of them in a very big way. The truth is that they are used as slaves which are used to make money for their boss.
They are as good as money making machines. Because of the kind of shock that the girl street hawkers experience, more specifically by rape, some of them swore that they will never be good to any man and sometimes goes to the extent of killing any man that comes in contact with them.Prostitution is a sign of moral decline among people.
Solutions to Child Hawking
The solutions to children street hawking are:
Implementation of Child’s Right Act;
Construction of Orphanage Homes;
Reaching out to the Poor; and
Amendment of Some Religious Practices
Implementation of Child’s Right Act – The government and NGOs that work to ensure that the children are not treated in inhuman manner have some roles to perform here.
They should work by sending their officials to the streets of cities and fetch the wandering children and see how to punish the Law offenders that send the children to the streets.
When the offenders of the Law protecting Child’s Right are properly treating in accordance to the offence they commit, they will stop sending the children to the streets for hawking.The government and UNICEF should work hand in hand to ensure that the Law protecting the girl-child and boys are properly implemented and enforced. There should be government officials on different states of the world that will be checkmating on the children that hawk on streets and highways and proffer solutions to the children either by sponsoring them academically or providing the parents with the necessary skills that will increase their earnings.
Construction of Orphanage Homes – Building of more orphanage homes is another welcomed idea that can reduce the level of child hawking on the planet earth.
Those who fall victims of street hawking as a result of wars should be called into motherless baby homes were they will be taken good care of through the help from individuals and governments efforts. Doing this will reduce the number of street children and help overcome the health challenge they would have faced while hawking on the streets.
Reaching out to the Poor – Some parents send their children to the streets not because they like hawking business by the children, but due to the fact that poverty is eating-up their families. Parents know that what is good is good but could not help themselves and among the solutions to reduce their poverty level is to send out their children to the streets to hawk.
When any children are seen hawking on the street, the government officials who work to reduce the level of children street hawking should follow the children to their homes to see their parents. If after assessment and they discover that the parents to the children are poor, they should report to the government so that necessary attention will be given to both the children and their parents.
Amendment of Some Religious Practices
– There are some religious practices that common sense detects they need adjustment and amendment. Some part of Islamic practices that exposes the children to the streets, whereby they go out to the streets and beg for money and return in the evening to their teacher is to be abolished.
The truth is that any who practice Islam may not be happy but the truth must be told. Exposing children to certain areas in the name of carrying out their religious functions is inhuman. It is an act against the Child’s Right Act and should be put to stop.
If there is any category of persons that should not be cared for, it should not be children. The reason is that this tender group are too young to take care of themselves. Let’s put a stop to CHILD HAWKING.