14 Aug 2008

Save the Children in Fiji alarmed about children begging

1:18 pm on 14 August 2008

Save the Children in Fiji says it's concerned about parents sending their children to beg on the streets.

This comes as the interim Social Welfare ministry is planning to criminalise giving cash to children begging on the streets.

The organisation's chief executive officer, Chandra Shekhar, says children shouldn't be exploited and should go to school.

But Mr Shekhar says there needs to be more discussion first about how to tackle the issue.

"We should be looking at how we could get an impact and change of behaviour without a heavy-handed enforcement. If all efforts fail then we could look at law enforcement. But law enforcement will have to be looked at in its totality, not only legislation but how that legislation is going to be actually applied."

Chandra Shekhar estimates about half a dozen families are begging on the streets in Suva alone.