Child abuse rampant in PNG

Letters, Normal

The National, Friday, June 3rd 2011

CHILD abuse is rampant in PNG so much so that we have taken them to be normal.
It breaks my heart as a parent to see adults being completely ignorant of the health and welfare of children, especially the street vendors in Port Moresby.
I have seen toddlers clinging to their mother’s breast in the heat and dust of Port Moresby from dawn to dusk as their mothers go about conducting business.
It saddens me while I travel home each day after work and see these children hanging around their mothers, often dirty, hungry, half naked, and weak while other kids their age are watching cartoons or having dinner after a shower and wearing clean clothes.
Also, the number of child beggars is increasing with each passing month.
Just walk the streets of downtown Port Moresby and you will know what I mean.
I have witnessed instances where these children, especially boys, trying to direct traffic and end up getting scolded by road users.
I understand the parents, especially street vendors, are being proactive in order to make ends meet and, in do­ing so, they seriously compromising the health and welfare of their kids.
I believe these adults are in serious breach of both local and international laws relating to child abuse.
Are there laws in PNG to protect such children and, if so, who is in charge of implementing them?
Authorities in other countries would act swiftly if the welfare of a child is compromised; for example, repeated domestic violence by a couple on a new baby should result in the baby being taken away and cared for by the concerned authorities.
Can the authorities in PNG do something about this?

Uncle Zurro
Port Moresby