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Child vending during late hours putting them at risk

Child vending outside nightclubs in Apia exposes them to various forms of harm including physical abuse.

And parents should stop exposing their children to these areas by not getting them to sell items late at night.

These were concerns expressed by Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.) Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Louisa Apelu, during an interview with the Sunday Samoan.

She said the Ministry currently runs programs targeting children who sell in high risk places in town, but the parents need to get on board and support the initiative by ensuring their children don't sell late into the night.

“Our Ministry is currently running various programmes to cater for children who vend, especially children who vend in high risk places in town. And a great challenge is maintaining the support from parents to make sure that kids are not vending after school. 

"We are actually addressing it through face-to-face consultations through home visits, where we try to convince these parents that having their kids vend after hours as late as  midnight around nightclubs is not a good option.

“Not only is there a concern for very young kids vending late at night encountering harm, but also the teenage boys and girls getting into trouble themselves like getting involved in fights, which can affect them physically,” she said. 

Mrs. Apelu added it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure their children are safe at all times, but it became a concern to the Ministry when an increasing number of children were seen vending in town at night, and not attending school. 

“The parents are always present supervising their children, but it is the fact that their mindset of not allowing their kids vend during late hours and around nightclubs, which have not been changed which is a constant concern."

The Ministry does one-hour consultations with affected parents, but Mrs. Apelu revealed that sometimes parents don't show up for the meeting. 

"So we show up to their homes - our solution is to go straight to their homes and with the hope that family members will provide the encouraging support to parents and children to change their mindset,” she added.

Mrs. Apelu said they always advise parents to find better alternatives for their children instead of vending.

“But I suppose it is the economic situation of people where it puts them in a situation where they need to go out and sell.”    

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