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Published on Nov 21, 2015

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Poverty & Begging are one of India's biggest issues
Poverty is real while Begging is carried out in organised gangs


  • There are more than half a million beggars in India (Aug 2014) of which 300000 or more are child beggars
  • More than 60000 children disappear in India every year and most of them finally end up being part of 'begging mafias' or is forced into prostitution
  • Organized begging is one of the most visible forms of human trafficking—and it's largely financed and enabled by good-hearted people who just want to help.

Begging- an art or profession?

  • Beggars are so used to begging that they actually prefer not to work; and many of them also makes more money from begging than they would if they did work
  • Hence they consider begging a 'lucrative' profession
  • Rs.180 crores (about US $ 3.6 million) is the annual income of beggars in Mumbai (Bombay), a figure given by the Maharashtra State Government (2008)

Survey- Delhi Beggars

Child Beggars

  • Impoverished parents actually take their children to an "early morning market" where they rent out their children for begging!
  • Most child beggars have either never attended school or dropped out at primary level. Unfortunately, the child beggars are not even given a chance to think of the future. They are led to believe that they don't want to study and that there is nothing wrong about their present routine.
  • Only 1out of 13 child beggars pretending to be handicapped had a genuine physical problem; which means that lessons of guile and dishonesty are also imparted at a disturbingly early age
  • Behind every child beggar there is a cause. There is a need to check out and eliminate this type of begging from a country like India where people say "children are the country's future."

Arms for Alms Scandal

  • The shocking truth about the beggar mafia emerged last year when doctors were filmed by Indian journalists agreeing to cut off the healthy limbs of children for just £100
  • With at least one child being taken every week in Mumbai, not to mention dozens more in India’s other overcrowded cities , the beggar mafia makes more than £20 million a year in Mumbai alone, and the corrupt officers ensure that the trade thrives
  • Almost all of these child beggars, whether mutilated or not, are addicted to solvents, alcohol and charras (powerful Afghan hashish, often laced with opium), which are supplied by the gang masters to keep the children under control.
  • Despite India’s economic boom, the future looks bleak for millions of the nation’s children

The imperative to not give money or gifts to child beggars doesn’t mean we have to turn our backs on them.
Donate to responsible NGOs, and look for creative new ways to be kind to children that won’t disrupt familial dynamics, encourage long-term poverty, undercut local businesses, or abet human trafficking.
Be generous: Leave those coins in your pocket!