Child street vendor ban proposed

A local non-government organisation will push for the practice of using children as street vendors to be banned in Samoa.

The proposal is being made by Tofa Sinasina Inc. President, Tavui Anne Eves-Laumea, who told the Samoa Observer that her organisation will make a presentation on the issue to the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.

She said the child street vendors are gaining a reputation of bad-mouthing random members of the public if they refuse to purchase their items.

"We don't want anymore vendors, night or day. I see them and they call out and if visitors don't buy anything they swear at them. It is bad for us and it is not good for our culture,” she said. "It is about time Government representatives, village representatives, women representatives to come together, sit down and look at it seriously.”

Legislation should follow extensive consultations, according to Tavui, who said it is time for the Police to enforce the law. In fact there have been previous attempts to address the issue, however, the policies have not worked. 

She then recalled a conversation with a policewoman on the issue, whom she questioned and got a rebuttal in response. 

"We can do more about this to whoever is looking after this child. It's already there, but the thing is it is not working, they are not doing it. The police are there but they still don't care. I asked one police woman the other day, Why aren't there any police officers down at the bus terminal, there is a lot of things happening there and kids are buying things. She said we finish at 3, and then I asked her who said? Then she asked me who are you? I told her that I am a former police woman, I was doing all my work by myself."

Tofa Sinasina Inc. plans to take its proposal on the child street vendors to present to schools and villages, according to Tavui, but the lack of capacity amongst the Police ranks appears to be a challenge.

"There was also a police car parked there but there were no police officers in the area,” she added, when talking about how child street vendors misbehaved at the bus terminal.

Speaking of her presentation to the schools and villages, she said: "It is not a big presentation, it is just something little for them to know and to let them know that we care and we want to help them out. It is a presentation for the Ministry of Women and the scope of the presentation is that we would like to work with them in every way, like women, men and children. We don't go for one only."

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