6 Jan 2017

Samoa law can't stop child night vendors - Police

12:40 pm on 6 January 2017

Samoa police say there is no law to stop child street vendors from roaming the streets at night.

Samoa police check on truant children

Samoa police check on truant children Photo: supplied

This week MP Faumuina Wayne Fong called for tougher laws to control the growing number of child vendors in Apia after footage was posted online showing three children attacking a homeless person late at night.

The Assistant Police Commissioner Fauono Talalelei Tapu told the Samoa Observer the only law that exists is the Compulsory Education Act, which makes it illegal for children to be on the streets before 3pm.

Samoa's Acting Police Commissioner, Fauono Talalelei Tapu

The Assistant Police Commissioner Fauono Talalelei Tapu Photo: RNZI / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Fauono said there is no law to stop young children selling and being on the streets late at night and the only way to solve the problem is to change the law.

Last year, the Ombudsman's Office reported that despite the existence of the Act the problem continues, with a growing number of young children selling things during school hours as well.

It said significant emotional and mental burden is placed upon children when they take on financial responsibilities for their families.

Fauono said his community engagement team is working with the Ministry of Education on the issue.

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