Several phenomena have come together that aggravate the situation of begging in Ecuador, says the Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), Mae Montaño. She adds that poverty, unemployment and migration mean that the efforts being made to reduce the social problem are not felt.
The issue of begging gained momentum in the comments on social networks in Ecuador last weekend, after the requests that the wedding planner of Juan David Borrero, son of the vice president of Ecuador, and the model Jasmine Tookesm made were made public. to the Municipality of Quito.
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In addition to requesting the thorough cleaning of the areas surrounding Plaza San Francisco, where the Victoria's Secret model's wedding took place, she requested the removal of homeless people from the surroundings and reinforce security with metropolitan agents.
Mae Montaño says that by force no one can move people on the street. "These are such delicate issues because they awaken sensitivity and respect for human rights."
The number of beggars has grown in Ecuador, says the minister, although she acknowledges that work must be done to update the data, because they do not have current data on people living on the streets. As of December 2020, the previous regime recorded that 33,000 boys and girls were begging in the country. But the problem goes beyond that age group.
“We are thinking at this time to renew the inter-institutional articulation that we need and come out with a campaign. We are going to need a strong campaign because to control the issue of begging we need to work with both parties, with those who are on the street and many of whom do not want to go to shelters because sometimes being on the street means more money for them or because it is already a culture to be on the street, that is, all of that also exists”, he specifies.
Criticism in networks for requests for the wedding of Jasmine Tookes and businessman Juan David Borrero; Secretary of Communication pronounced
Within the campaign, he adds, people must be told that they should not give alms, toys or clothes on the street, "it is the only way, you have to take away their clientele so that then people feel discouraged from being on the street .
The minister is concerned that the situation becomes more serious because child labor and begging come together and both become more sources towards the end of the year.
To point out the complexity of the problem, she notes that there are several categories of homeless people. Some have particular circumstances, loss of home or job and lack of money for rent and go to the streets to earn some money. They can be convinced, “the issue of begging is the same as with the issue of addiction, you have to convince the person to go to a shelter and above all to stay in that shelter, you cannot force him or take him with the public force”. Another category, "are people who already live on the streets, live on bridges, have very serious associated health problems, drug problems, AIDS...".
People who make begging a business are not an issue that they evade, which is why they insist on a major campaign to reduce it and join efforts, as is done with some municipalities and institutions that carry out operations to convince them to go to a shelter.
The National Survey of Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment (Enemdu) prepared by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC), recorded that income poverty at the national level in June 2021 stood at 32.2% and extreme poverty at national level at 14.7%.
A person is income poor when their family per capita income is below the poverty line. In June 2021, the poverty line was $84.71 per month per capita, while the extreme poverty line was $47.74 per month per capita. According to these data, 32% of Ecuadorians live on $2.82 per day and 14.7% on $1.59 per day. (I)