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Save the Children reveals that 42 per cent of beggars are children

By Maria Weldali - Apr 17,2024 - Last updated at Apr 17,2024

Save the Children Jordan revealed that 42 per cent of beggars that the anti-vagrancy teams deal with are children (JT File photo


AMMAN — Save the Children Jordan, in its most recent policy paper focusing on enhancing the protection of children engaged in vagrancy, revealed that 42 per cent of beggars that the anti-vagrancy teams deal with are children.

In Jordan, figures and statistics clearly point to a continued risk that is in need of effective and immediate intervention in many different modes and directions in order to put an end to any continuing the exploitation of children in street situations.

According to the policy paper, among the most significant determinants of current and future efforts is the fact that vagrancy is considered an organised family business and in some cases it is a profession and the primary income source for many members of a clan.

Figures by the Ministry of Social Development show that around 60 per cent of vagrants are frequent cases. This means that they go back to the streets after being detained and held legally accountable.

The challenges related to the identification of exploitation cases in vagrancy, the difficulty in proving the crime of child exploitation in street situations, and the informational weaknesses in probation officer reports, are among the main factors undermining efforts to address the phenomenon, said the policy paper.

The harm of giving children money, being the highlight of Save the Children Jordan efforts, has created a focus on analysing the legislative gap in the protection of children involved in vagrancy.

According to Save the Children, “the neglect faced by children exploited in begging extends to their basic needs, such as their right to a name and identity.” Noting that nearly 22 per cent of child beggars, or one of their family members, are not registered in civil records.

“This means not only are they deprived of the right to a name, but they are also denied many other rights… like education, health and social protection,” said Save the Children in a recent study.

Save the Children using hashtags in its recent campaign #Dont_Give_To_Protect, seeks to promote awareness to the public that giving alms to child beggars is actually harming them and sending them back to the streets.

Additionally, a Save the Children study titled “The Voices of Children exploited in Vagrancy” showed that the majority of children engaged in begging went to the streets due to turbulent family surroundings or the loss of one of their parents, noting that 70 per cent of child beggars do not go to school.

The CEO of Save the Children Jordan, Diala Khamra, reiterated on Tuesday the organisation’s unwavering commitment to make radical changes in the lives of children and their families.

On the same note, the Minister of Social Development, Wafaa Bani Mustafa, highlighted the ministry’s uninterrupted work aimed to address the phenomenon. 

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