Children make up nearly 33% of beggars caught in Jordan

Screenshot 2022-06-12 235801
An undated photo of a child laborer. (Photo: Jordan News)

AMMAN — Children caught among street beggars this year accounted for 32.8 percent of 4,834 beggars, according to data by the Ministry of Social Development, Al-Mamlaka TV reported Sunday to coincide with a UN week of action marking the World Day Against Child Labor.اضافة اعلان

Another local media outlet, AmmanNet, said meanwhile that the Jordan Labor Watch anticipated an increase in child labor due to the persistence of factors that cause children to drop out of school and join the labor market.

At least 4,834 beggars were nabbed this year, including 1,586 children, Al-Mamlaka said quoting a statement by the ministry’s assistant secretary-general for Development and Welfare Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Jbour on Saturday.

All through 2021, Jabour pointed out, 5,800 children were arrested for beggary out of 13,558 beggars. He said that an amendment to the penal code, enacted last month, strengthened punishments for children’s beggary, an implicit reference to what could be interpreted as a slight reduction in the number of beggars.

The Jordan Labor Watch of the Phoenix Economic and Informatics Studies said in a statement marking the World Day Against Child Labor that the occasion is an opportunity to shed light on the issue of child labor around the world, including Jordan.

The statement said the objectives of a sustainable development plan called for “immediate measures” to ensure that the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use as soldiers, are prohibited and eradicated and that all forms of child labor end by the year 2025.

Jordan’s legislative system prohibits child labor and is in line with relevant international standards, according to the statement.

It said that although the government promulgated months ago the first draft of the Children’s Rights Act, and said it was developing a strategy to combat child labor, “various key indicators were driving the expectation that child labor would increase in the upcoming years”.

The statement asserted if there were no qualitative improvements in the government’s basic education environment to encourage children to stay in school and reduce school dropout, which is the primary driver of child labor, the current efforts will be ineffective.

The Labor Watch statement said that the good intentions to reduce child labor, expressed in legislating laws, developing strategies and inspection procedures, and rehabilitating children workers back to school, are “not merely sufficient to reduce child labor, unless accompanied by significant improvements in citizens’ living standards, social protection and the development of public education.”

The UN declared the World Day Against Child Labor under the theme of “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labor”. The event is marked on June 12.

The world body said on its website that “while significant progress has been made in reducing child labor over the past two decades, progress has slowed over time and even stopped during the period 2016-2020.”

According to the UN, 160 million children today are still involved in child labor, some as young as five years.

The UN pointed out that government social protection systems are necessary to combat poverty and vulnerability, and prevent child labor, which is a human right and an effective political tool to prevent families from resorting to child labor in times of crisis.

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