Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Baharuddin Djafar said that people who exploit children will be charged with violating the Children Protection Law and face up to 10 years in jail.
However, he said, harsh measures would only be directed against those involved in renting children for begging operations, not parents whose children are with them while they are begging.
“If it is their own children and they have to carry them, we cannot charge them. But if they rent a child to other people to beg, then they will be charged,” he said.
Baharuddin said that in order to rid the streets of beggars, assistance from other government institutions such as Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), was necessary.
Satpol PP head Effendi Anas said that an investigation was needed to find out if a practice that exploits children exists, and if so, if there is a syndicate involved.
“Currently, what we are doing is ridding the capital of ‘social welfare problems,’ better known as PMKS [beggars, buskers and street kids], during Ramadan to provide comfort and safety to Muslims who are fasting during Ramadan,” Effendi said.
Effendi has said that last year, the Jakarta administration arrested 2,500 such people during Ramadan, a 50 percent drop from 2009.
“Hopefully, the number will fall even more this year,” he said.
In a bid to thwart PMKS, the government ran a street operation from July 20 to 30 and is planning another from Aug. 16 to 28.