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Sa Pa requests tourists refrain from purchasing goods from child street vendors

Saturday, January 09, 2021, 10:05 GMT+7
Sa Pa requests tourists refrain from purchasing goods from child street vendors
An official uses a loudspeaker to call for visitors not to buy goods from child vendors in Sa Pa Township in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, Vietnam in a screenshot. Photo: Tuoi Tre

To protect children from being forced to work as street vendors, authorities in Sa Pa, one of northern Vietnam’s most famed tourist destinations, are asking tourists to refrain from purchasing goods from young vendors.

For several days, a car has been driving through the town of Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province, using a loudspeaker to urge tourists not to buy goods from child vendors.

The recorded auido of the official has drawn much attention from netizens after being posted on social media.

An official uses a loudspeaker to call for visitors not to buy goods from child vendors in Sa Pa Township in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, Vietnam in a screenshot. Photo: Tuoi Tre
An official uses a loudspeaker to call for visitors not to buy goods from child vendors in Sa Pa Township in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, Vietnam in a screenshot. Photo: Tuoi Tre

“The children are selling goods on the streets because their parents are forcing them to. We’ve been raising public awareness of the issue for many years and are cracking down on it now,” said Vuong Trinh Quoc, chairman of Sa Pa Township in a discussion with Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper on Tuesday.

“We suggest that both parents and tourists collaborate with the local authority to carry out the campaign. We urge people not to buy goods from child street vendors,” remarked Quoc.

According to Quoc, during the New Year holiday, despite the chilly weather in Sa Pa, many children were still forced to sell goods on the streets, damaging the reputation of the famous tourist destination.

Sa Pa attracted around 65,000 tourists during the 2021 New Year holiday. Every year, more than three million foreign and domestic vacationers flock to the destination for well-known tourist sites and natural landscapes.

Dang Hoa Nam, head of the Department of Child Care and Protection at the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said it is illegal to use children as a means of earning or begging for money on the streets.

Child abuse is against Vietnamese law, Nam stressed.

Nam calls on people to contact the national child protection hotline number 111 to report cases of child abuse.

The hotline operator will then connect with local authorities and nearby police offices to address the reported issues in a suitable and prompt manner.

“Selling goods on the streets under bad weather conditions, dusty and toxic environment is absolutely not good for children, so we have to prevent the issue”, said Nam.

“Forcing children to sell goods or beg for money has decreased in the last few years thanks to our efforts. But we need more collaboration from local authorities and families to protect children in the best way”, he added.

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