Police have launched a wide campaign in Cairo to “end abuse of street children” by handing them over to their families or arresting people who exploit them.
MENA quoted a security source as claiming that the extended campaign has so far rescued 354 street children, most of whom were working as informal vendors or collecting cigarette butts. The children also were at risk because they slept in the streets at night and often were vulnerable to suspected criminals.
The campaign also allegedly found three cases of chilren abusing narcotic drugs, and 18 being forced to beg.
The campaign was launched by the General Administration of Juvenile Welfare Investigation at the Cairo Security Directorate, in cooperation with the Central Security Forces.
MENA added that the campaign has also investigated incidents that have little to do with street children. As a result of the campaign, there were allegedly 36 reported cases of adults begging, and six street vendors were found "operating without a license." It is not known whether any of the individuals whom were encountered during the campaign were arrested, however, security forces reportedly notified prosecutors in order to begin investigations.
It is unclear whether or not the campaign is a result over the public uproad over the killing of Omar Salah, a 13-year-old street vendor shot by the army near the US Embassy earlier in February.
Egypt’s National Center for Social and Criminological Research (NSCR) estimated in a 2011 study that there are around 2 million street children in Egypt, and that at least 20 percent of them are victims of trafficking.
Edited translation from MENA