The Monrovia City Corporation and the Paynesville City Corporation have embarked on a campaign, calling on the public not to buy from street hawkers, particularly kids.
The partnership involving the two city corporations is in buttressof efforts of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection’s initiative to raid the streets of kids, who should be in school.
Appearing on State broadcaster ELBC’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, 11 January along with Paynesville City Mayor Madam Cyvette Gibson, Monrovia City Mayor Madam Clara Mvogo warned that buying from kids or anyone selling in the street was illegal because it was aiding and abetting their presence in the streets.
She further warned that any citizen found buying wares from kids in the streets will be penalized, explaining, “We have decided to use this method because if there are no buyers, there wouldn’t be a seller.”
“Against this we are also working closely with the police and the Ministry of Gender so that when we find a child that is below the age 14 years, we can take that child to the Ministry of Gender and they will take them to a safe home where they will keep these kids until they bring the parents in.”
Mayor Mvogo also said that sending children on the streets to sell was an abuse and violation of their rights, and compromising their lives as well. “It is an abuse of a child, so we are not going to penalize the children but rather the parents. But we are holding the kids first so that we can be able to track the parents and then we will [incarcerate] them.”
The Mayor also emphasized that street selling leads to all forms of abuses and violence against children, noting that it needs to be stopped through the collective efforts of all Liberians.
She announced that billboards will be erected all over the cities, informing citizens to help in the effort of getting kids off the streets. Mvogohowever clarified that the Corporations were not going after petty traders because they are organized union registered with both the Paynesville City Corporation or PCC and the Monrovia City Corporation or MCC through a Memorandum of Understanding.
“We are talking about children whose parents may not even be in the city, but gave them to either their relatives to help educate them and they are being sent to sell in the streets. It is illegal and unacceptable to send your child in the street to sell because doing that you are compromising the live of the child,” she said.
According to her, the MOU signed with petty traders enables them to be protected by the Liberia National Police. In addition, PCC Mayor Cyvette Gibson explained that they have carried out lot of awareness and are continuing to convey the message on the danger of street selling.
She however regretted that unfortunately, parents were still sending their children out to sell in violation of the law. Gibson explained that adults will be penalized if they were found in the act because it is something that causes government a lot of money.
“The buyers are aiding and abetting, that is to say they are participating in something that is illegal so once you are buying, [you] are aiding and abetting”, she stressed. But she said the PCC and MCC did not get involved as a result of PresidentSirleaf’s interest and seriousness to get kids off the streets, rather saying the President called all mayors and asked them to help the police and the Ministry of Gender to ensure that the issue with the kids is addressed.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Winston W. Parley