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Minister orders authorities to act against exploitative online begging

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini issued a ministerial circular instructing regional authorities to take action against the exploitation of the elderly for financial gains, in response to the online begging phenomenon by exploiting aged people.

As per the statement received here, Wednesday (January 18), the minister issued Circular No. 2 of 2023, dated January 16, 2023, to restrict exploitative or begging activities by using the elderly, children, people with disabilities, or other vulnerable groups.

The circular instructed governors, district heads, and mayors to take action to prevent online and offline exploitative and begging activities by exploiting a member of a vulnerable group.

Regional authorities are urged to report any exploitative and begging activities found through online and offline means to the police or the municipal police (Satpol PP), as per the minister’s circular.

Local authorities are also urged to provide protection, assistance, and social rehabilitation for the elderly, children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups that have been exploited in online or offline exploitative and begging activities.

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Earlier, Rismaharini promised to take action against online begging activities exploiting the elderly on social media by issuing a letter to local authorities.

“I will send the letter. No, no, (it will not involve the police). It is only an instruction to the regional (authority). In principle, (online begging activities) are not allowed,” the minister stated.

She said that as the elders have helped in the past for their children, so the children, on their part, must not abandon and exploit them.

The public was appalled at the recently-trending online begging activities, as seen in a live video where an elderly is seated in a knee-deep pond, and water is poured over him every time a viewer donates money. This form of online begging most prominently appeared on TikTok.

The live video, often initiated by their child, extends for hours, and the elderly had been forced to remain seated throughout the live video in the pond with a soaked body.

Despite public uproar and criticism against the content creator, they stubbornly continue their action to exploit their parents for financial gains.

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