It has been a surprise to see the number of children and adults out selling trinkets on the street and the number of elderly who sit palm out begging. This has been of epidemic proportions in some tourist places and is likely to discourage tourists, as you feel constantly harassed.
The adults are a different problem to the huge hoards of kiddies being lead to the streets by parents. Once you can toddle or another breast clutching bundle has evicted you from the back wrap it is street life for many. Tugging on walkers, diners, but mainly tourists is an accepted part of street culture it seems.
It seems to be mainly ethnic groups and in one town a religious minority that live this life. The Mexicans need to look at the price that might have to be paid later, Street crime seems a likely progression for these kids and possible involvement in the drug cartels.
When we were doing an early walk to the clanging tunes of church bells, we chanced upon a queue of bedraggled kids being equipped with their wares from a great bail of imported trinkets.
A young girl, maybe 10, sat alone for at least 14 hours at the door of our hotel on Easter Saturday with a few necklaces and mass produced “hand” crafts. It doesn’t seem right.
In Paraguay, we visited a government and UNICEF project that has had positive impact on the lives of a similar group of kiddies. The price the communities pay for the help with food and schooling is – no children are allowed selling, loitering or begging on city streets.