It is a crime to give alms to beggars, children on the streets – Social Welfare

Mr Jonathan Djan Gyau, the Western Regional Director for the Department of , has called on the public to refrain from giving alms to beggars, particularly children living on the streets of Ghana's cities.

According to Mr Gyau, begging is considered an offence under Ghanaian law, and both the giver and the taker can be held accountable.

He expressed his disappointment regarding the presence of foreign nationals engaging in begging on major streets and traffic intersections in the Metropolis.

In an interview with the , Mr Gyau stated, “I am particularly disappointed at the Ghanaian disabled who, after receiving funds from the Common Fund, still resort to begging on the streets. We know that disability does not mean individuals cannot work to improve their situation.”

He called for collaboration among different agencies to address the growing phenomenon of foreign nationals, including those from and , begging on the streets of Ghana.

Mr Gyau emphasized the need for effective engagement with immigration, relevant embassies, and the Refugee Board to tackle the issue, especially when it involves young children who should be in school.

The Director also advised individuals who see begging as a business to cease the practice, as it is considered illegal in the country.

Under Ghanaian law, anyone found begging without a warrant can be arrested by the police and may face a fine of up to GH¢1,800.00 or a maximum prison term of three months, or both.

Previously, Ms Abena Durowaa Mensah, the Vice Chairperson of the Gender Committee of , called for the enforcement of the Beggars and Destitute Act, 1969 (NLCD 392), which criminalizes begging and giving alms to beggars.

She also emphasized the need for a policy to protect children from being exploited as street beggars, warning that both the beggars and the individuals providing assistance could face prosecution.

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