Where poverty is rampant, children are often kidnapped and trafficked by crime syndicates. According to UNICEF, 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. Children are forced into sex labor, panhandling and petty theft while at the mercy of unscrupulous people.
These children are often bullied, starved, and hurt to break their spirits and to make them look even more disheveled. Sometimes, the older children are conditioned to be as mean to the new and younger children.
During the day, they’re sent away to beg for money from people on the streets. The less money they bring at the end of each day means they get less food or get heavier punishment. They’re also taught about ways to get more money from strangers.
An Unusual Technique
One of these is the “kids in need” technique. A frail-looking child is often chosen as the bait and sent out to beg in the streets. They’re often conditioned to be as persistent as possible.
When these kids beg for money, there are three possible reactions from people.
- A person may take pity and give them a few coins.
- A person may feel repulsed and try to get away from them.
- A person may ignore them.
Each of these reactions are watched by the other children on the street. It gives them a cue on whether they should approach the person as a group or send only one of their own to pickpocket.
A receptive person makes the easiest target because they will pull out their money to give to the child. That gives away the place where the money is kept. A person trying to get away from a begging child may also do the same: give the child money so they won’t be bothered. A person who will try to ignore a beggar isn’t better off — a persistent beggar will try to keep on following them. The more that a person ignores the child, the less focus is given to their own belongings.
What Should You Do?
City officials usually suggest giving food to begging children instead of money. If a child is looking very weak and frail, you may take them inside a fast food chain, a deli, or a bakery and order them a meal instead of reaching for your money in public. Some suggest taking these children to the police station so they’re reported as lost or be brought to social services.
There are many kind ways you can deal with street children, but you also have to remember that you need to protect yourself and your own belongings. Keep your valuables close to your body as possible. The Clever Travel Companion has special shirts and travel underwear that have concealed zippered pockets that you can wear when out exploring.
We offer multi-purpose clothes and accessories that could keep your cash, documents, and your devices safe from theft.