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School aged street vendors in Apia missing out on education

School age street sellers - child vendors – are still a common sight in the capital, and in front of many of the bigger shops around Apia.

Concerns are again being expressed that the children are missing out on an education, and must be suffering from poverty.

Laws in place must be enforced to ensure that school age children are not seen during school hours, commented opposition MP Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.

“We already have the law but it is sad because, in my understanding, it is only now, for the first time, that the Police department are working on it.”

But, he added, “children are still selling goods, even in front of police officers, around town.”

One of the most popular spots for the young street sellers is at the McDonald’s and its drive through queue, where these children are nearly always seen.

One of them was understandably shy when approached by Samoa Observer this week. Asked his name, he did not respond, just nodded his head and then ran away when the camera came out.

A woman also crossed the street at the same time, giving the appearance of not being with the boy.

Lealailepule said the problem is not just with parents who put their children on the streets to sell cheap items – it’s the wholesalers who supply them.

“We should arrest the wholesalers that give out these goods as well as parents for letting their children doing this everyday job.” Lealailepule said.

“Easy as that.”

“It is a very good reminder to the Ministry of Police to look at this matter again and clear all these children away from the streets, selling goods.”

Police spokesman Fauono Talalelei Tapu said that they had been working together with the Ministry of Education.

“We are looking into amendments for the law in regards to street vendor children.”



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