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Campaign to end child-begging

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NEED FOR REHABILITATION: A child seeks alms at a crowded traffic junction in the city. - Photo: Mahesh Harilal
NEED FOR REHABILITATION: A child seeks alms at a crowded traffic junction in the city. - Photo: Mahesh Harilal

Staff Reporter

Joint drive by Judiciary and District Administration

KOCHI: The Judiciary and the District Administration will jointly launch a campaign to eradicate child-begging in the district. The campaign will start on August 20, with a workshop educating the people in different sections of society who would be able to participate in the drive.

The plan is to follow the example set by Thiruvananthapuram city. The campaign will be led by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, who had played a key role in settling a number of cases involving children. The campaign will be able to send the right signal to the people or the mafia employing children for begging, it is felt.

Police personnel and the media would be sensitised first about the campaign. The legal provisions through the Juvenile Justice Act would be brought about in making the programme a success, said A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, District Collector.

All the people who would be able to spot children begging on the streets would be brought together in the campaign to make it a people's campaign. School children, hawkers and traders, besides the Corporation, social organisations, police and the media, would be part of the campaign, Mr. Hanish said.

The long-term campaign involves three phases. In the first phase, children engaged in begging would be spotted and the information would be passed to the authorities.

The second phase would be to provide proper shelter to children at the relief homes in the district. Education and vocational training will be part of rehabilitating these children.

The infrastructures would be strengthened as part of implementing the Juvenile Justice Act. Finally, prevention of child beggary would be taken up as the target, which would help declare the district as child-beggary free.

The campaign would start with distributing notices, showing visual material at workshops and educating people on what needs to be done when they see a child begging on the streets or a child being used by adults for begging. The Chief Judicial Magistrate had given orders for the police to take stringent action against people using children for begging, Mr. Hanish said.

A meeting would be convened on Thursday to finalise the campaign plans, the Collector added.

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