Police taking zero-tolerance approach to children being used for begging on streets

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Police taking zero-tolerance approach to children being used for begging on streets

Head of the Special Victims Department of the TTPS, Superintendent Claire Guy-Alleyne, said the police will be embarking on a joint initiative to crack down on children being used to beg and child labour, with a special focus on cruelty against children.

The collaborative effort will include the National Security Ministry’s Immigration Division and the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CATT).

Speaking before a Joint Select Committee (JSC) yesterday, Guy-Alleyne revealed that the police will no longer be taking a “soft approach” when it comes to persons begging or hustling, especially with children, on the streets.

Guy-Alleyne said, “If persons are found begging or even if there are any violations of let’s say child labour, or even cruelty to children under the Children’s Act, persons will be arrested and charged. We may even pick up persons who are prohibited immigrants. Because this thing is becoming a nuisance.

“You are driving on the road, persons are coming to wipe your wiper. We see on the corners of the streets as well, children and adults, migrants and locals. So we are going to operate with a zero-tolerance approach.”

She said anyone found committing other offences during these joint exercises could also be arrested.

This includes people vending on the streets, such as those selling nuts or drinks, as they could be charged for obstructing the free passageway of motorists or pedestrians.

Regarding migrants and their children, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Administration, Natasha George, said, “The TTPS has understood that a number of people in Trinidad and Tobago now, English is not their first language and so we have embarked upon several programmes to strengthen our officers in different languages from Spanish to Mandarin. We actively have a Spanish course going on at the St Joseph Police Station. The oral part of that programme, the officers actually engage with people on the highway close to Grand Bazaar and educate those migrants, especially with children, as to the ills and the problems as it relates to child labour, to encourage those persons to bring those children to the youth group within the St Joseph remit, to empower those children to give them other options as opposed to being engaged in dangerous options.”