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Lahore Police have not arrested a child for begging

Minor found begging on the roads handed over to Child Protection & Welfare Bureau

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Claim: Lahore Police have arrested a minor boy for “dressing up as a girl and begging”.

Fact: The child has not been arrested but handed over to the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau (CP&WB).

On 30 January 2023, Express News Urdu published a news story titled, “معذور والدین کی دیکھ بھال کیلیے لڑکی بن کر بھیک مانگنے والا لڑکا گرفتار. [A boy who dressed up as a girl and begged to care for disabled parents has been arrested]”.

In January 2023, Karachi-based transgender activist Shahzadi Rai had posted a video of a child she had met on the streets of Lahore. Rai claimed the minor, who was seen with long hair and wearing lipstick, was “forced” into prostitution by their parents.

In a post, which she says she has now deleted as the child is safe, Rai had written: “I met this 9yo KhawajaSira kid in Lahore, her own parents forced her into prostitution, drug-dealing & the child is an ice addict as well. This is a very heart wrenching situation, please QRT & highlight this case, save this poor girl. We request @cpwbpunjab to pls intervene!”

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reached out to Lahore’s Capital City Police, who referred us to Azeem Manoj, an officer at the Tibbi City Police Station. Manoj said a preliminary report of the process states the team traced the child seen in the video.

“We found the child, brought them in, gave them water and juice — the child had not had breakfast — so we provided breakfast,” he said.

“We called in the Child Protection Bureau [CP&WB] team, which came in, sat the child down, and interviewed them,” Manoj said. “Our first aim is to ensure their safety, so we traced the child, made sure they were safe, and then handed them over to the Child Protection Bureau.”

Hashim, a helpline assistant at the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau, also confirmed to Soch Fact Check that the child is residing at the Bureau.

The child was not arrested.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the period from 1 January 2023 to 7 March using the search term, “معذور والدین کی دیکھ بھال کیلیے لڑکی بن کر بھیک مانگنے والا لڑکا گرفتار”. We found 1,022 interactions across six posts.

However, we found multiple more stories through Facebook’s organic search option. The false claim appeared here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, as well as on verified pages such as ‘Javed Chaudhry’ and ‘Daily Ausaf’.

On Twitter, the claim was shared here, here, and here, among others. It also appeared here, here, and here on news websites.

Conclusion: Lahore Police have not arrested the child but handed them over to the CP&WB.

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