Il­le­gal Tat­too Artists ‘Putting Chil­dren at Risk’

Fiji Sun - - Sun Spectrum -

Il­le­gal tat­too artists sell­ing de­signs at ‘pocket money’ prices are putting chil­dren at risk of con­tract­ing hep­ati­tis and HIV, coun­cil bosses have warned.

Un­li­censed tat­tooists, known as scratch­ers, use cheap equip­ment to of­fer tat­toos inked in kitchens and gar­dens. They of­ten tar­get chil­dren and adults with their low prices, coun­cil lead­ers from the Lo­cal Govern­ment as­so­ci­a­tion said. Ex­perts warn the equip­ment – which is of­ten bought on­line – is of­ten dirty and un­ster­ilised, putting peo­ple at risk of virus and in­fec­tions.

Fu­elled by celebrity cul­ture, tat­toos are boom­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. One in three peo­ple aged 25 to 34 now have a tat­too, and more than 1,500 li­censed par­lours are cur­rently in oper­a­tion.

Il­le­gal tat­tooists are rid­ing the wave of this boom, coun­cil of­fi­cers said. Durham County Coun­cil re­cently pros­e­cuted two scratch­ers af­ter of­fi­cers raided three homes as part of its ‘Catch a Scratcher’ cam­paign. A fur­ther man ac­cepted a cau­tion and two other il­le­gal op­er­a­tors vol­un­tar­ily sur­ren­der­ing their equip­ment. Dur­ing the raids, of­fi­cers seized more than 30 bags of equip­ment in­clud­ing 15 tat­too ma­chines and hun­dreds of nee­dles, many of which were out of date. A fast food bucket was be­ing used to store con­tam­i­nated waste and there were no suit­able ster­il­i­sa­tion mea­sures in place at the premises. Wrex­ham County Bor­ough Coun­cil also pros­e­cuted a man for il­le­gally tat­too­ing chil­dren in his home at ‘pocket money prices’ to chil­dren.

He was fined a to­tal of £600 (F$1589.29) for six of­fences and a court or­der was is­sued for the de­struc­tion of his tat­too­ing equip­ment. Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil re­cently se­cured its first jail sen­tence against an il­le­gal tat­tooist who was jailed for 16 weeks and or­dered to pay costs of £260 (FJ$595) af­ter ig­nor­ing warn­ings from the coun­cil to reg­is­ter his home-based par­lour. The man also did not have ad­e­quate in­fec­tion pro­ce­dures in place, putting his clients at risk of in­fec­tion.

Ex­perts warn the equip­ment used by il­le­gal traders is of­ten dirty and un­ster­ilised, putting peo­ple at risk of virus and in­fec­tions.

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