News1st takes a closer look at beggars and ‘their children’ (Watch Video)

News1st takes a closer look at beggars and ‘their children’ (Watch Video)

Written by Staff Writer

17 Apr, 2015 | 9:26 pm

Children being used for begging by women has become a common occurrence during the festive season.

As suspicion has arisen over the manner in which these women behave with children, News1st launched investigations into these happenings – children being carried around by women, who, at most times are not their mothers.

You may have encountered several instances in which men and women with children were seen scavenging the busy streets of Colombo. Are they using these children as tools for begging for an actual cause, or has this now become a business? News1st inspected several streets of the city of Colombo in search of beggars with children by their side.

What we observed was that  children in the hands of these beggars seemed to be in a trance.Thus doubts arise whether these children are in their senses or whether they have been drugged.

News1st inquired from a woman opposite the Fort Railway Station about the child who was with her. Her response was one of anger, aggressiveness and tension rather than one that provoked sympathy and kindness.

We immediately contacted the emergency hotline of the National Child Protection Authority to inform them of this beggar. The individual on the phone said that the Pettah Police Division would be informed of the matter immediately.

News1st informed the NCPA of this beggar with the child at 12.36 p.m. Twenty minutes later at 12.56, there was still no official arriving at the location and the   woman had already left the area with the child.

Still on location, we contacted the Child Protection Authority once again, as no official arrived even by then. The News1st journalist Lakmal Kirindigala identified himself to the NCPA – that he is from News1st – and asked at what time the NCPA informed the police of the incident. The NCPA said that the police unit of the NCPA were informed within five minutes.

Meanwhile, we came across another beggar with a child telling passers-by that they are in need of money for treatment for an illness of the child.

However, when our team inspected the documents and subsequently questioned the woman about it, she said that the treatment is being provided for free and they are compelled to beg for money as her husband had abandoned them and that she has two children who have to go to school.

While News1st made inquiries from the Ministry of Children’s Affairs. We were told by a senior official at the Ministry that as the State Minister is abroad, immediate steps would be taken upon her arrival.

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Posted by on Friday, April 17, 2015

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