Closed Circuit cameras in a Brazilian shopping mall show a couple abandoning their infant child this week. Thanks to the quick thinking of bystanders and mall security, the child was immediately taken into custody.
This incident highlights the significant problem of abandoned children living on the streets of the South American country.
The video shows a man walking into the mall and depositing a small child wearing a pair of shorts and a vest with a woman. Then, he turns and leaves, after which the woman heads off in the opposite direction. Distraught, the child tries to follow the man out of the building. Luckily, bystanders notified a nearby security officer before the child wandered away.
While much information is still forthcoming, officials have said that a man they believe to be the child’s father worked as a waiter in a restaurant at the mall, and that he accused the mother of abandoning the child. He has been taken into custody, but has as of yet, not been able to provide proof that he is the father.
They are still trying to locate the woman seen in the video.
The incident occurred at the Rio Sul shopping center in Botafogo, a middle class neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.
Barbara Lomba, a spokesperson for the Rio de Janeiro Police Department said “The man who claims to be the father is saying he argued with the mum before going off to work. He says he thought the child had stayed with the mum and as he didn’t look back he wasn’t aware the mum had gone off in the opposite direction and the youngster had been left alone.”
According to UNICEF, an abandoned child is defined as one who does not live with either parent, does not have a permanent residence, and does not know where their next meal is coming from.
These children easily become victims of human trafficking and other violent crime, and extremely frequently become participants as well, selling and consuming illegal drugs, committing robbery, and other crimes just to stay alive.
Sadly, of the four hundred million street kids on Earth today, more than thirteen million live in Brazil.
In addition to facing hardships on the streets, these children are often victimized by law enforcement who see them more as a nuisance to be dealt with harshly and expediently, rather than as children in need of aid. They frequently wind up being beaten, dislocated from shelters, incarcerated with adults, and terrifyingly, even summarily executed, or “disappeared.”
Many people are responding to this story by saying such things as:
“What a heartbreaking story, thank goodness someone was there to stop him wandering off alone. Both of the (so called) adults should be locked up and the poor child adopted by someone who would appreciate the gift of having a child to care for.”- Anni
“I cannot think one mum who would have left without her child.”- SweetJalapeno
“So sad, hope that kid grows up ok.”- Zillar