30,000 children of school age are begging

The media reports quoting Wasantha Athukorala, a senior professor at Peradeniya University’s Department of Statistics and Data Studies, that the number of minor street children begging around the island is about thirty thousand.

The professor says that this number was confirmed by research and studies conducted in different parts of the country.

He said that it is a serious crisis that the government does not have an accurate data system about these children, and if proper attention is not given, crimes such as drug use, selling, theft, rape, sexual abuse among children can be more and more committed.

Parents or temporary guardians take steps to employ these young children in begging as well as in other money-making activities. The professor also mentioned that most of the children between the age of 04-15 who beg alone or with adults in the centers of crowded cities, shrines etc. do not go to school.

Inspector General of Police Deshbandu Tennakoon says that the police are aware of this matter. He said that the lack of a place to detain children after they are arrested and brought to court is a problem.