Mzimba North district social welfare office has blamed parents for failing to provide necessary care for their children, a situation that has forced scores of them to indulge in business at night in the streets of Mzuzu City.
Child night vending has become a common sight in Mzuzu City, leaving many concerned residents wondering whether the children, some of them as young as 10, operate from their parents’ homes when doing the businesses.
Mzimba North child protection officer Chimwemwe Ngwira told Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Tuesday that child night-vending is rising at an alarming rate in the city.
He said it is out of order for parents to assign a child to do any type of business, especially at night, on their behalf because it is “total economic exploitation”.
Coincidentally, at the time of the interview, the social welfare office had arrested more than 10 boys aged between 10 and 15 from the city’s surrounding areas and others from Salima and Mulanje districts.
Ngwira said the children, who were found selling plastic bags in Mzuzu City’s main market, live in one house with little or no care from anybody.
The children confessed that they do not go to school even when the schools are open and that a majority of them are Standard Four dropouts.
Section 23 (4) of the Constitution states that children are entitled to be protected from economic exploitation or any treatment, work or punishment that is, or is likely to be hazardous, interfere with their education; or be harmful to their health or to their physical, mental or spiritual or social development.