Hunger: another symptom of the covid-19 pandemic
After trying to sell a candy to the Judge, a family in a situation of serious social vulnerability is assisted by the Childhood Court
Priscila Torquato – Special for the Diary
A seven-year-old child approached a man on Rua 16 de Março selling candy. What she didn’t know was that it was the Judge of the Childhood and Adolescence Court of Petrópolis, Dr. José Cláudio de Macedo Fernandes. Along with her mother, the little one was on the city streets selling sweets. After a brief conversation, the judge led the family to the Forum to investigate the situation. It was verified by the magistrate that it was a situation of very serious social vulnerability. With no job offer, the family was starving and to try to buy food, they decided to sell candy on the streets.
According to information from the TJRJ, no situation of child exploitation or neglect was characterized. They were attended by servers and employees of the Court to minimize the situation of need and were later taken home. During the interview with the judge, the woman who worked as a housemaid claimed that, with the pandemic, job offers had practically disappeared. With no gas and no food available, the solution found by the woman was to go out and sell sweets around the city. It was also verified that the girl is enrolled in the public school system, is in good health and hygiene conditions and, due to the lack of in-person classes, she needed to accompany her mother in the forays in search of money to buy food.
The judge activated the entire municipal network to ensure assistance to the family. She will continue to be accompanied by the Children’s Court.
Mismatched information stated that it was child labor exploitation
Information published in cell phone message groups reported that the Judge had approached the woman who was “exploiting the child by selling candy.” But, in fact, a situation that worsens with the spread of covid-19 contagion was identified and that society does not seem to care about: hunger.
According to data from the Brazilian Network for Research on Sovereignty and Food and Nutritional Security (Penssan), 19 million Brazilians face hunger on a daily basis in the country. “Food insecurity is when someone does not have full and permanent access to food. Today, in the midst of the pandemic, more than half of the Brazilian population is in this situation, at the most varied levels: mild, moderate or severe. And serious food insecurity affects 9% of the population”, reveals the survey.
The numbers also show that the economic crisis aggravated by the pandemic is causing food insecurity to spread even among those who are not in poverty. “About half of those interviewed reported a reduction in family income during the pandemic, even leading to cuts in essential expenses. These households constitute the group with the highest proportion of mild food insecurity – around 40%.”
Increased irregular commerce on city streets
Just walk through the streets of the city center to find someone selling candy on every corner. In addition to the offering-a-product approach, others ask for money to buy a box of candy for resale. In some parts of the city, it is still possible to see entire families in irregular commerce. This scenario was aggravated by the pandemic that directly impacted the generation and maintenance of jobs across the country. As a measure to minimize the irregular performance of street commerce, the municipal government teamed up with entities and civil society to create the ‘Petropolis Segura’ campaign. The idea is for the campaign to involve different situations, from noisy motorcycles to illegal trade and exploitation of child labor, with the creation of a specific grouping uniting the Civil Guard, Posture inspectors and the Military Police.
On August 23 there was a meeting between the Department of Services, Security and Public Order, Posture Inspection and Municipal Civil Guard with the command of the 26th Battalion of the Military Police. The meeting served to align the integrated actions between the institutions in the inspections of the urban planning actions, including, such as the Order Shock held on Fridays in the center and in the districts, as well as in the inspection actions of compliance with the code of postures , street commerce and compliance with public health rules by establishments in the context of the pandemic.