By Mabi Azefor Fominyen,
On my way from work, a well dressed woman approached me demanding for money to feed herself and her twin daughters. The children stood close to their mother, both of them shabbily dressed. As she put it, they" hadn't eaten since morning" translated from Wolof. I felt sorry for them and decided to give her a token so she could buy some food to eat and share with her children.
Upon opening my bag I noticed both children, who until then hadn't opened their eyes thus making me think they were suffering from some kind of eye problem, suddenly opened their eyes and quickly stretched out their bowls for me to drop in the money. At that point, the woman(their supposed mother) pushed them aside instructing them to close their eyes. She even used her hands to forcefully close their eyes. Unhappy with the lady, one of the children screamed saying she was going to inform her mother once she returned to her home.
Did I hear her well? I sure did hear her well!
But that sounded a bit tricky and aroused my curiosity thus I started asking questions.
And so it turned out that the woman was not the biological mother of the twin daughters. On the contrary, she had "hired " both children to go out begging throughout the week. While on the street, she claimed she and "her children" were so poor and hungry.
What a thing to do!
To say the least, I was shocked by that incident. Not by the fact that people would go begging on the streets but at what length some people would go to exploit children, evoke pity only to extort money from others.
On the occasion of the 47 edition of the African Women's Day(celebrated on July 31),discussions and activities in some parts of Africa focused on putting an end to the different forms of exploitation that women and girls suffer from. Many forms of exploitation exist today and include: physical, psychological, sexual, financial to name but those!
The consequences of such are many, causing enormous suffering, pain, regret, and even deaths. Unfortunately, some individuals and many communities continue to exploit women and girls, despite the numerous challenges some women and girls face, on a daily bases.
So who's behind this?