It is unlawful to use children to beg for alms on the street, Mr. George Yaw Ankamah, the Bono Regional Director of the Department of Children has warned.
Mr. Ankamah said that was not allowed as “it is a bad practice that impedes the nation’s efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030”.
Besides the Children Act, he said all international protocols frowned on such practices, and cautioned parents who allowed their children and use them for alms begging to refrain from that or be prepared to face the full rigours of the law.
The unusual practice of children engaged in alms begging on the street was now common in Sunyani, the Bono regional capital as the capital experiences vehicular traffic nowadays.
Instead of being in school, some parents allowed their school going-age children to roam and beg for alms on the streets of Sunyani, an unfamiliar practice which is gradually gaining prominence in the capital.
Children engaged in alms begging is now common specifically at the Sunyani Municipal Hospital Traffic Light, the Sunyani Central Business District enclave, and the Sunyani Regional Hospital Traffic Light.
The business seems lucrative for the innocent children, and their parents because of the hospitality of the Sunyani people.
But, speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, Mr. Ankamah said though issues concerning children remained sensitive, there was no justification for anybody to allow or use children to beg for alms.
He added the government alone could not shoulder the responsibility of stemming the practice, saying it therefore required decisive and concerted efforts from all stakeholders to bring the situation under control.
Mr. Ankamah also appealed to the public to desist from giving alms to those children, indicating if alms givers also stopped giving gifts and monies to them, it would discourage the practice.
He noted that religion and faith, the Ghanaian culture and tradition encouraged and fueled the practice sometimes because the “Ghanaian people are charitable, compassionate, caring and hospitable”.
Mr. Ankamah said the government was doing much and was implementing several social intervention programmes for children to access equal and quality education to attain their full potential in life.
These interventions including the Free Senior High School (FSHS), Free TVET and the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education programmes, he added had put the nation on the edge to achieve the United Nations’ SDGs by 20230.
Mr. Ankamah therefore urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to support the enforcement of the Children Act in ensuring that all children were taken from the streets within their jurisdictions