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Laws inadequate in addressing Samoa’s problem of child street vendors

Samoa’s police say they could only warn families of children who were caught on CCTV beating up a man on the street in Apia recently.

Police are hoping new laws would help address the problem of children selling food in the streets as well as roaming around late at night.

Police spokesperson Su’a Le Mamea Tiumalu says they followed procedures in the recent case of children beating up a man sleeping on the footpath in Apia last month.

“We’ve followed proper procedures with the formal warning and we are planning to try and do more by running seminars in the villages, especially the ones who have children as vendors,” Su’a said.

“Hopefully when we build a better collaboration with the villages, the parents of these children would take the safety risks posed by these children being out so late into consideration,” he said.

Meanwhile, Su’a still hopes the laws would give police the powers to detain children found in the streets late at night.

“We have our jobs and our jobs depend on the law. Right now, there is no law that stops them from being out so late. The only area this touches is that they can’t be out selling products on a school day, during school hours,” he said.

“The compulsory education act is where that falls under and it revolves around basically sending kids to school. We are hoping that our government would consider another solution to helping keep children off the streets,” he added.

“We aren’t just concerned for the people in the street, but also the children themselves. We just had another recent case of two young street vendors having a brawl in town in broad daylight, and its things like that we are trying to avoid,” Su’a said.

He says consultations through various mediums will not be enough to resolve the recurring problem, but instead he says face to face collaboration with villagers and families may help provide a solution, and if not, then the law must take consideration.

Loop Samoa/ Photo from CCTV    
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