Child Welfare SA – Edenvale has appealed to community members to not give money to beggars with children at intersections.
This comes after child welfare, which serves both Edenvale and Bedfordview communities, used social media to inform the public that children are often rented by beggars to get more money.
“We are aware of the situation and are doing everything in our power to address it,” said vice chairperson of Child Welfare SA – Edenvale, Nikki van der Walt.
“The renting of children by beggars has been a big problem in our community for a number of years.”
Van der Walt said by giving the beggars’ money, community members are creating a lucrative business for them.
Celeste Thies, a senior social worker, said the welfare does not have the legal right to simply remove children off the street.
She said when child welfare assists, it requires the provision of the necessary documents such as birth certificates.
“These are provided by the courts or individuals who have opened cases.”
Thies said in many instances the children and the beggars are undocumented.
“We cannot deal with undocumented individuals.”
Thies said because of the nature of this issue, she believes that child trafficking syndicates may be involved.
Thies and van der Walt urged community members to report these matters to the police.
Van der Walt said child welfare does have evidence that some children at intersections in the Bedfordview and Edenvale areas are being rented out by their parents.
“We are working hard to find a solution but our resources are limited,” she said.
“We do not have the facilities of a children’s home to care for these children.”
One of the solutions child welfare has in mind is partnering with community stakeholders and the Bedfordview and Edenvale community police forums to try to eliminate the problem.
Stakeholders, child welfare and the two community police forums planned to meet this week to discuss the matter and find a way forward.