A Filipino girl hits her brother after the child refuses to go with her to beg for alms in the busy streets of Basilan province on Wednesday, December 26, 2007.
Many beggars used children as front to beg for money and food in the Philippines and many have been exploited and become victims of abuses by their own family. The World Bank says child labor is one of the major concerns confronting many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
There are 36.3 million Filipinos who are 19 years old and below (NSO 2000). In excess of a million and a half children are estimated to live on the streets, begging for food and often engaging in criminal activity.
More than three and a half million children from 5 to 17 years old work under often-grueling conditions, in spite of legislation outlawing child labor.
A survey of the Department of Social Welfare and Development shows a sudden increase in their number of clients probably as a result of increased recognition and reporting in the community.
The children in this survey were victims of physical abuse, neglect, with majority reporting sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, reports say. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)