The rights of children are often under-evaluated. It has been known that children under the age of 18 years often forced to work to provide for their families.
Many of these children died as the result of the harsh environments that their tender and under-nourished bodies endured. As a result, developing nations have designed specific guidelines to protect children from social implications that have had dire effects on their lives. The rights of children became an effective deterrence for against child -labor.
In the Caribbean, there has been a growing concern over child labor and indirect forms of begging. Children are being seen working various forms of street hustling like the selling of counterfeit movies, stolen electronic devices, or local produce like fruits and vegetables.
In more severe cases, child’s rights advocates have reported high incidents of child sexual abuses by children who are expected to provide for themselves. These economic burdens that are placed on children can have devastating impacts on their lives. Many of these children are lured in various forms of illicit activities like child pornography, thief, gang-violence and child-trafficking.
Child trafficking, has become a serious concern for many Caribbean societies, in particular as many are struggling with their economic and social inequalities. Child trafficking can take various forms, including but not limited to, forced child begging, sexual exploitation, child pornography, child marriage and child soldiers. UNICEF have also reported that the number of children being trafficked across the globe are mainly trafficked to engage in street begging, prostitution and petty crimes like stealing.
The Caribbean region is not immune to child exploitation. In various countries, children, can be during the vacation or school breaks, begging for money, food supplies and other forms of basic necessities. Some of these children because of the harsh economic realities of their households are placed in unbearable dilemmas to contribute to their families’ misfortunes.
Many families believe that it is harmless to have their children participate in the economic contributions of the household, but many are unaware of the dangers that their children may face if they are placed in unsupervised environments. The difficulties in curbing child begging are mainly due to the fact that children are minors and the guardians are usually the ones who enforce their activities. As a result, these vulnerable minors are coerced by a family member or loved ones to take up their responsibilities by becoming economic providers for their families.
There are a number of solutions that government agencies and communities leaders can provide to assist children and their families. Many families are challenged by inadequate social support and cannot afford the growing increases of basic needs like food and shelter. In many cases, especially in the Caribbean, low income families cannot afford the high cost of living within their countries. This places additional burdens, in which the immediate needs of their children are either decreased or ignored for other factors like rent or utility payments. Such social dilemmas must be fully assessed and given immediate priority if we are hoping for more healthy and peaceful societies.
Governmental, civil and family agencies should ensure that every family have adequate health, education and social support. They should ensure that every child’s basic needs like food, water, shelter and education are addressed. They can ensure that parents and families are also educated on the rights of children. Parents and guardians should be educated on the dangers that children can encounter when they are left to negotiate with strangers for assistance(monetary or commodity).
A child’s ability to foresee such dangers is limited and as a result, we as a society ,should also be mindful of these risks. A child’s right is a right to live in a healthy, educational and equal social. No society can flourish without setting the proper foundations for its children.