Goa is popular as a tourist destination internationally. Annually, Goa receives lakhs of tourists who visit Goa during the season.
But it is equally true that besides tourists, a number of beggars and drifters of all age groups, especially minors, also end up in Goa. Their presence could be felt and seen in all cities and towns of Goa as well as in the coastal belt.
Bailancho Ekvott president Auda Viegas said that the increase in the number of beggars and homeless drifters, which is seen across Goa, is damaging the tourism destination image of Goa. In the long run, the beggar menace will prove to be a big hurdle in the promotion of Goa's tourism.
When questioned why there is a sudden increase in beggars in Goa and what could be done to resolve this issue, Viegas opined that there have to be checks done by the police on borders.
Police and NGOs should keep watch on beggars and the homeless, especially minors, who beg on the streets. State protective homes need to be built wherein these street beggars could be placed and then sent back to their native place.
Commenting on the increase in the number of beggars, Viegas said that since Goa is a tourist destination, many tourists come to Goa, and for beggars, it becomes a prime place to beg and earn. She said, "I feel it is a big syndicate which functions by using these beggars and homeless drifters.”
Meanwhile, to prove that illicit activities are happening in Goa, Viegas pointed out one incident wherein the timely intervention by the police personnel thwarted the plan of the trafficking of a seventh-month-old child in Margao.
In a press release issued by Auda Viegas, the president of Bailancho Ekvott, she points out that a serious cause of concern is that people are taking Goa as a place to traffic children.
Since they believe that in Goa everything escapes the notice of the law. It is the timely intervention by the Railway Protection Force Police Inspector Vinod Mishra and Head Constable Sonali Pawar that prevented the baby from being trafficked for an “adoption” sale.
This was followed by action by the SP South and both DySPs Margao and Konkan Railway Police station and the Police Inspector Konkan Railway and team that saw to it that those involved in the heinous deal were arrested.
Auda Viegas further stated, “I especially applaud the action of the police who arrested the father of the baby and the agent. The arguments on arrival by train from Bellary, Karnataka, were over the money of the sale.”
Goa is becoming a convenient place for the abandoning of babies, for deliveries of babies by minor girls who are brought here for their deliveries (swelling the rape numbers among minors) and for the sale and consumption of drugs by people from across the state borders.
“I am of the opinion that as there is no check on begging and acrobatics at traffic circles, markets and beaches by children, these infants could be sold before returning to their native places. The women and children trafficked is a malaise that requires action by the child protection authorities of the state,” said Viegas.
Bailancho Ekvott feels that this is not a solitary case and that children are quite often trafficked to Goa for adoption, begging and other anti-social and illegal activities.
The preventive measures are appreciated. But the state is requested to take strict action against anyone in the sale of babies given for adoption, and those who do not follow the guidelines mandated by CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority).