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‘Zarqa shelter for female beggars housed 130 girls in 2 months’

By Rana Husseini - Nov 27,2017 - Last updated at Nov 27,2017

AMMAN — A newly launched social care centre for females in Zarqa has housed around 130 girls since its opening almost two months ago, an official at the Ministry of Social Development said on Sunday.

The centre, which caters mainly to street beggars, was opened by the ministry in September to be a “safe haven for female beggars and other minors who are mostly pushed to the streets by their families who are supposed to protect them”, Social Development Ministry Spokesperson Fawaz Ratrout said.

“The average of female street beggars detained by the authorities is around 130 and the shelter was needed to protect these girls and provide them with proper social services,” Ratrout told The Jordan Times.

Ratrout said that the ministry’s job is to protect minors in accordance with the juvenile law, adding “we have detained dozens of female beggars", many of whom “were caught at late at night”.

“Most of these girls are forced by their families to stand in the street at night and beg for money, because their families know that our society is more sympathetic to females in general. This is extremely dangerous for them and their childhood,” Ratrout added.
The ministry official added that “the girls remain at the centre until the judiciary decides on their cases and when they are safe to return home since many parents use them for begging to make money”.

The ministry’s records over the past few years show that nearly 75 per cent of the detained beggars are Jordanian citizens, while non-Jordanian detainees include Syrians and nationals of 12 other countries.

All detained beggars are referred to court where a juvenile judge decides to “either penalise violators with fines and/or bails that they are usually able to afford”, he added.

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