More than likely if you have traveled outside of the United States to a third world country you have encountered child street beggars who are clingy, loud and desperate.
How did you handle it?
You probably did what any humane person would do and gave them money.
It is the normal way to react when a dirty, skinny, child under the age of eight who is carrying a newborn approaches you and asks for change.
(average age of street beggars is five years old)
What is change to us when we have hundreds of bills in our luggage......its just change right?
Whether you just exited the airport, are sitting in traffic, walking down the beach, or shopping in open air markets chances are you have have witnessed the heart break of children that should be in school, or at home with their parents...basically anywhere but begging on the streets.
All children are born innocent and they do not ask to be here so it is the parent's job to protect the innocence and provide a safe refuge for the child to flourish.
Well, that is what is supposed to happen.
My question to you is this:
Why are the children begging on the streets? Who sent them out there? Where do you think they take the money?
Up until today I never thought twice about giving money to children beggars but when I found out that majority of the children are orphans and are being controlled by evil adults that changes everything.
Begging children have it down pat, they have perfected the sweet, needy smile and have harnessed the persistence of a lion.
I never, ever thought it was because they were forced to.
Children who work the streets are vulnerable to physical, emotional and sexual abuse all while being exploited to beg or work the streets by adults who are rotten, lazy pieces of shit.
Even if it is just their parents who send them out on the streets still shame on them! Again, those children did not ask to be here and by taking away their right to a good life it makes the parents scums of the Earth.
Think about how many kids get abducted, drugged, assaulted, robbed or murdered when they are forced to wander the big city streets alone.
Our intentions may be good because when we see that sweet smiling face it makes us want to just hug them so naturally we give them what they want. But that just perpetuates the problem by keeping them on the streets and making them vulnerable.
Have you ever seen a mother or child with a sleeping newborn or infant?
Guess what, that child has more than likely been drugged to keep it from crying.
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Here are ways to handle the situations
1. Understand that you cannot save these children in a day. These children are on the streets because of dark, evil forces and it takes time to save just one child.
2. If you heart breaks into pieces at the thought of their sweet faces join an organization in the country you are visiting by volunteering or sending goods for children who are in school and orphanages.
3. If you anticipate being exposed to child beggars and have to do something bring a stamp and ink pad. Stamp their hand with something that will make them smile. Something that they will treasure but cannot be taken away from them. Something they cannot be hurt for.
4. Give out toothbrushes and toothpaste.
5. Ignore them.
I know it is hard to just ignore these children because God knows they are persistent but it really is the best thing to do.
You think you are helping them but all it shows them is that they can live this way.
6. Engage them in conversation either in English or their language. Talk to them like they were a regular child. Ask them their name, how old they are, what their favorite color is etc.
Take time to show interest in them and that is worth more than your fifty cents.
7. Know any magic tricks? Entertain them while you wait for a cab.
8. Research child hostels and community centers that are advocates for these child beggars before you go. If you are willing to take the time and risk you can help these children get help.
9. Ask them if they have a home.
Ask them if they would like help.
Ask them if they are hungry.
Ask them if they would like to go to a safe community center.
10. You cannot force a child to get help. Taking them without their consent is abduction. Just because you are doing the right thing it is still kidnapping.
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My last encounter with begging children was in Nicaragua. Waiting at the airport children basically snatch your luggage from you to take to your taxi - that method is basically forcing you to give them money because they did a service for you.
Two of the most common ways kids beg is by trying to sell you gum or flowers.
Oh, I have bought plenty of flowers. They are pretty and I do not want the child to think I do not appreciate his talent.
In my mind I am showing him that he can be whatever he wants to be in life because he is talented.
Oh it gets better.
When we finally arrived at our beach resort and found our favorite spot on the beach to watch the sunset each day a little boy would come to us. He was simply engage us with conversation, show interest in whatever we had with us and then ask us for chocolate and Coca-Colas.
We undoubtably walked back to the resort, put a few snickers and sodas on our tab and gave it to the young boy. We watched him take a couple bites and sips then take it to his brother and share.
Yes, we were enabling and creating worse dental hygiene problems but for those brief moments we were able to give those children something special.
I am not completely against giving to begging children abroad but I would strongly advise not to give to the city beggars. Chances are they are involved in a dark business by force and whatever you give them goes to a perfectly capable adult.
But if you come across a family and see them enjoying what you can provide them - go ahead.
Also, my husband on our honeymoon became friends with one of the local workers at our hotel and began fishing with him every day. So whenever he caught a fish he would give it to him and also at the end of our trip Josh gave him a fishing pole.
It helps provide for his family.
This is the family I helped by providing clothes and food:
Use your own judgment and follow your instincts.