Silver buskers are a common sight in Indonesia, but the discovery of an infant being sprayed with metallic paint for the purpose of making it a prop for begging has spurred authorities to act in South Tangerang.
Photos that have circulated shows the baby, who is said to be 10 months old, with its face and other parts of the body not covered with clothing sprayed with silver metallic paint. An adult woman is seen cradling the child as she begs for money near a gas station in Pamulang, South Tangerang on Friday evening.
The city's Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) on Sunday managed to locate the baby and found that the woman in the photo is not the mother.
According to Satpol PP, the baby's mother, 21-year-old NK, is a silver busker who would often leave the child with her neighbors, E and B, when she goes out to beg for money.
E and B, who are also silver buskers, would spray the baby with paint as they go out to beg as well.
"When they go home, [the baby] would be covered with silver paint on its body, legs. [NK] would get IDR20K (US$1.40) [from E and B] as money for diapers and milk," South Tangerang Satpol PP Investigation Department Chief Muksin Al-Fachry told reporters yesterday.
NK and her baby are now under the care of the Social Agency, where they may be in line to receive social aid pending an eligibility assessment. Officials have not determined whether or not exposure to the metallic paint has done any physical harm to the baby.
No criminal charges have been filed yet in this case.