Public prosecutor charges family in child begging case

(Photo: Jordan News)

AMMAN — The public prosecutor on Wednesday filed charges against the father, mother, and uncle of three children involved in the so-called “Mecca Street girls’ case.”اضافة اعلان

Earlier this week, on Monday, three girls were taken into child protection after allegedly being forced into panhandling by their father on Mecca Street. The case is being considered the first-ever instance of panhandling being classified and prosecuted as a human trafficking crime in Jordan.

The incident was brought to the Ministry of Social Development’s attention after someone posted on social media and a concerned citizen called authorities and told them three young girls were begging on Mecca Street into the late hours of the night.

After an investigation and social and psychological follow-ups by the Ministry of Social Development, the public prosecutor pushed forward with the charges, according to Jordan News Agency, Petra.

The ministry's spokesman, Ashraf Khreis, told Jordan News, that "The girls, who we are supervising, are in the presence of judicial order, and they are currently receiving all the attention and care."

A modification to Articles 3 and 9 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Law now includes forcing children into panhandling as a human trafficking crime. The sentence carries with it a sentence of no less than seven years temporary labor and a fine of between JD5,000 and JD20,000.

This comes amid a crack-down on panhandling by the anti-begging unit at the Ministry of Social Development. The ministry reported that in August, a beggar who was arrested was found to be in ownership of a car, and was receiving JD787 from social security.

The ministry issued a statement calling for citizens to not provide money to beggars and instead donate to charities.

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