South African creches rent babies to beggarsAugust 17th, 2010 - 8:43 am ICT by IANS
London, Aug 17 (IANS) Creches rent out babies to beggars who use them to get sympathy alms from motorists in South African city of Pretoria.
The case came to light after police questioned beggars who congregate around busy intersections along with children, The Telegraph reported.
Officers suspect a crime syndicate is running unnamed creches in the city where parents would drop off and collect their children uaware of how they had been used, said Doortjie van Rensburg, a police spokeswoman.
The discovery came amid a crackdown by police in the city on the use of children in begging, which is widespread in South Africa where up to 45 percent of the population is unemployed and the gap between rich and poor is still growing.
Police, social services and volunteers have mounted patrols of traffic intersections, and children begging either unaccompanied or with adults have been moved to shelters.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Development said the issue of street children had been neglected “for some time”.
“We should protect children from exploitation and from adults using children for financial gain by begging at street corners,” he said. “We want to ensure that the children get to a place of safety where they can go to school and get properly fed”.
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