Homeless Children In Asia

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I recently read an article about homeless children working in the streets of Beijing. The article brings back much memories about stories families and friends told of awful sights seen in their travels to Asian countries. The two most memorable are:
Saigon (Vietnam) Homeless Corner - My friend and her aunt went back to Saigon for vacation. They were going to meet up with other family members at a restuarant when a homeless girl approached them and asked if they could give her money to buy food because she was starving. Touched by the awful reality of poverty in Saigon, the aunt handed the child some money. As soon as she did that, homeless people coming from nowhere merged to where my friend and her aunt were standing. They begged her for money too. Within minutes, they were mobbed by homeless people tugging on her clothes with their hands sticking out begging for money. Fortunately, some family members who live in Saigon drove by and saved them from the mob. When they got inside the car, my friend found out that what happened to them was the reason why they should never give money to homeless people.
Beijing (China) Flower Girl - Another friend vacationed in China and was shopping when a little girl, perhaps just 5 years old, asked my friend and her husband to buy a rose. My friend said no but the little girl kept insisting. My friend and her husband walked away but noticed that the little girl was following them. The husband pitied the little girl so he turned around and told the girl he'd buy one from her. The little girl, in tears, begged him to please buy the whole bucket of roses. She clinged onto his arm and started begging. It was almost like she was clinging onto her dear life because she would not let go. My friend said both her and her husband were trying to fight off the little girl. Did you know, it took several adults to fight off the little girl? Some passerby tourists came to their rescue and pulled the girl away. My friend said she was so frightened and after that incident, she never gave any money to homeless people wherever she vacationed.

In Asian countries, as I found out, homeless people, especially children, are controlled by pimps. They would station the kids in certain streets and watch them from nearby. The kids give all their sales or money collected to the pimps at the end of the day. Each child is given a quota to meet. If the quota is not met, they'd be beaten or deprived of food. In my opinion, why don't countries such as China and Vietnam ban underage kids from working in the streets? I mean, wouldn't that just eliminate most of the abuse? I know it wouldn't solve homelessness but at least it would somewhat protect the children. If we tackle the issue at the root of it - pimps taking advantage of children to make money for them - if children under a certain age limit can not work, I'm sure it would greatly demotivate the pimps from going to improverished villages to collect the kids to work for them.

After reading how dangerous it can be to give money to homeless people, would you still do it?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the Chinese government is taking proactive measures to tackle the abuse of homeless children which is a good start. It's unfortunate abuse of the poor is widespread in every country. I hope more governments would step up and implement tougher laws for criminals that take advantage of the poor.

Anonymous said...

Here's an article about homeless facilities to stop the violence and abuse of homeless children.

www.unicef.org/infobycountry/china_35431.html

Rose Belle said...

Thank you for the link. China is definitely moving in the right direction.