Thursday, March 24, 2011

Human Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name

Press Release: Beggars are a part of the street landscape of any major European city. ‘But don’t be fooled’, warns Iveta Cherneva, author of Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name. ‘The children and elderly women begging on the street are often forced beggars – victims of human trafficking.

They are a part of a ring with organizational complexity comparable to that of a medium-size business enterprise’, adds the author whose latest research is also based on observations of the operations of begging traffickers in Geneva, Switzerland.

‘For their destination, traffickers chose high wealth concentration cities, such as Geneva, the world’s capital of luxurious watches.

There is a physical archetype that traffickers follow when choosing beggars. Often they chose children with handicaps’, explains the author.
In a number of reported cases cited in the study traffickers hurt and mutilate beggars on purpose. By maiming and deforming them they create more revenue. A handicapped child earns three times more than a healthy child.

A survey by the Stop Child Begging Project in Thailand found that disabled children earn as much as 1000 baht a day, as opposed to a healthy child beggar who earns 300 baht a day.
‘An ugly industry is quietly sitting on the pavement and we don’t even notice it’, explains Iveta Cherneva. ‘The revenues from this illegal activity are huge’, she adds. The US State Department trafficking report cites the findings of an undercover reporter who learned in 2005 that a man in Shenzhen, China could earn between $30,000-$40,000 per year by forcing children to beg. ‘Organized begging is a form of human trafficking, although admittedly not all begging is human trafficking.

A few questions first need to be asked and answered, and a few legal parameters – examined, in order to prove that organized begging is indeed trafficking in persons. Under international law there are five elements of trafficking, which need to be met – action, means, exploitation, transnational nature and organized criminal group. Familial forced begging, for example, is difficult to prove as human trafficking. Another problem is that very few legal cases are available and this is an area where the police and the courts need to do better’, explains the author.
The demand side of begging is still a largely unstudied topic.

The study looks into the psychological explanations behind begging in attempt to answer the question why people give money to beggars. ‘We need to realize that by giving money to beggars on the street we only encourage the vicious cycle, which fuels the criminal activity. This is why we need to stop and in that way cut the cycle of this trafficking activity’, the author concludes.

Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name is available as an
Ebook in Amazon Kindle Store. For more information Contact the author at


  1. Having to tell the beggars no on the streets of India is the one thing I don't like about going there. The children can break your heart if you let them. My first trip to India, on the first day, I cried for an hour or more because of the children. I was told before getting off the airplane in Bangalore, "Do not give money to the beggars."

  2. Anonymous6:56 PM

    True. But I think in the end it's better not to give them money. it doesn't go to them anyways ...

  3. Anonymous12:38 PM

    In India I gave peanuts rather than money to the street beggars