I read an article a few days ago written by Reem Al-Lougayan. She touched on a key topic, and I share her concern. Reem wrote about the phenomenon of fake beggars plaguing the streets of Kuwait. She said that a few men show up at traffic lights in cleaners’ uniforms with brooms and dustpans pretending to be street sweepers. But in fact they are begging. The funny thing is that these ‘cleaners’ are showing up at night!
I would like to add to the worries. There are dozens of young children begging at traffic lights, in front co-ops and everywhere in Kuwait. If you drive down Damascus Street, which is my route to the paper, the same boy can be found standing there selling cheap toys like Star Wars light sabers and pet fish. He has been there for years. I remember him as a small kid, but now he’s a grown young man and he’s still begging at this traffic light. The scorching heat of the sun or the hail and thunder of the winter doesn’t stop him. He must have a partner because he works the morning shift and later in the night, I find another boy there – as if they are doctors in a hospital working in shifts.
May I know where is the Ministry of Interior? I’m sure we have enough police and enough patrol cars to catch beggars. My friend tells me she sees the same thing in Salwa. Just down the police station in front of the school by the co-op, a young boy not more than 10 years old sits almost daily “selling” watermelon. Why isn’t he in school?
This is what’s worrying us. It’s not whether they beg or not. We are not against beggars. Don’t misunderstand me. I have a soft heart. But why aren’t these beggar children in school? And I have a feeling that it’s organized and someone is using and abusing them. Because sometimes I see a car or a truck with an adult man dropping off these children and later collecting them back. So what is this? It’s a gang, effectively. These boys may be innocent, but they are victims.
I also worry for their safety and welfare as they stand at the traffic light until late in the night. What if someone tries to snatch these boys and abduct them for whatever purposes? They are too young to be responsible and left out in the street. I hope the interior ministry takes this issue up seriously and helps these children find someplace safe.