THE prevalence of child exploitation has grown despite the legal framework outlined in the Child Act 2001, which underscores the importance of educating and nurturing children into successful individuals.
These individuals, under the age of 18, have aspirations and dreams that warrant cultivation during their formative years.
Nonetheless, a disheartening reality persists, wherein certain children are compelled to work to support their families, depriving them their rightful childhood.
Instead of indulging in the joys of youth such as snacks and treats, they find themselves striving to make ends meet.
Their evident struggle to earn money sometimes prompts customers, motivated more by sympathy than genuine interest, to purchase their goods.
Unfortunately, this well-intentioned sympathy is frequently taken advantage of by irresponsible parents looking for financial gain.
This exploitation must be recognised for what it truly is – a gross misuse of a child’s innocence for monetary benefit.
These children are often found sitting in corridors almost every day, selling goods, which is akin to begging. This is a heartbreaking reality that should not be normalised. These children deserve to revel in their childhood and focus on their education for a promising future.
Therefore, it is imperative that the authorities intervene to halt this exploitation. Turning a blind eye to this issue may put more children at risk of falling prey to similar exploitations, ultimately jeopardising their well-being and potential.
Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Shahidan Shaari
Faculty of Business and Communication
Universiti Malaysia Perlis