TIJUANA (Border Report) — Activists and the Baja California Bar Association are pushing for more laws to protect children who sell items on the streets of Tijuana.

They are also drafting a proposal that includes fines and sanctions for those who exploit these minors.

“At this moment, the important thing is to find ways to protect the children,” said Gerardo López Montes, the head of Tijuana’s Office for Wellbeing. “We need to sit down and talk to create solutions for the children who are vulnerable.”

López Montes would like to see penalties for private and governmental agencies that harm children or allow them to be exploited.

He said the city of Tijuana doesn’t provide much in terms of protective programs or shelters for minors, and he is proposing a joint working agreement with state agencies that already run facilities and take in children who are forgotten or ignored by society.

López Montes says it’s especially needed now due to an increase in the number of children working on the streets since the start of the year, but help for these minors hasn’t gone up.

“Throughout the state, there are more and more children working, you can see it on the streets, let’s hope that in the near term we can solve this situation and provide them with some help,” he said.