STREET HAWKING: Abuse to Childhood, Degradation of human dignity

Street hawking involves the carrying of goods both edible and otherwise on the head from street to street, calling for buyers and of course through the feet means of transportation. This type of “business “is mainly carried out by children under eighteen years (minors)

This category of children who are supposed to be in primary and secondary schools are seen early in the morning hawking variety of goods, wearing worn out clothes and shabby foot wears walking from street to street shouting for buyers.

Many questions come to mind on why children should be abused. Questions like; who are behind such infamous acts? Why should a child be subjected to such hard way of life? How much can such child make from daily sales? Can a child’s education (which is his/her right) be substituted with street hawking? And so many other questions.

The general belief that children who are engaged in street hawking are only those living with relatives who in addition to house chores for which they were employed also use them to accrue additional income is false, because even parents nowadays, send their own children on such horrific ventures.

After listening to the conversation of two women that sat with me at a bus stop I became more worried about the future of our children, do we just give birth to children to use them as instruments of satisfying our personal gains, means of achieving what we could not even think of doing. Below is the conversation of these women who

‘Hmm, my sister I thank God for my children Esther and John, if not for them I wonder how we will be surviving this present economic bite “said Mrs Adams {not real name} what are they doing? Asked her friend.” They help me hawk my goods, I prepare moi moi and ogi for sale every morning, while the two of them do the selling. On good business days when they finish sales before 9am, they come back and prepare for school, but on dull market days when they do not finish before noon they forfeit school, after all what do they teach them in school these days? Her friend replied “You are wise my friend, I think I should adopt your method. My children also hawk but they do in the evening after school, and they always complain of being tired, they hardly sell half the wares, and they still fail at the end of the term. It is wiser to let them make the money first, she continued, even if they fail it doesn’t matter “

“My sisters don’t you think it’s an abuse using children to sell?” Asked a co- passenger. Mrs Grammar please hold your peace, the children are mine, said Mrs Adams, I do with them as I please, after all the money they make is for everybody in the family, in fact it’s more for them, who eats more? You can tell the government to make the economy more friendly then children will enjoy their position of being catered for, but for now all hands must be on deck in bringing the money since all mouth are involved in the eating.”

If biological parents do not see anything wrong in Children street- hawking, a venture filled with many hazards, accidents, physical abuses, emotional traumas etc. how do you think others who do not have any biological affiliation will see anything ugly about street hawking? We should all rise to condemn the act. We cannot hope for a better tomorrow if we ignore the leaders of tomorrow who ought to be in school today but are saddled with responsibilities that does not concern them.

Street hawking by children is truly an abuse to their childhood and a degradation of their human dignity!

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