15 October 2011

Should Child Beggars be given Money or Not?

Bangalore: India may be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but the irony is that there is still large number of children begging in the streets of its leading
cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Kolkata. These innocent children do not beg on their own and hardly get anything, as they are exploited by mafia gangs, and gang leaders. Why do we see children below the age of 14 begging? The truth is that there are people who get money from child beggary, which has become a kind of forced labour and slavery.

While walking in the street for shopping, we often come across mutilated children, who have lost their hands or legs. Our hands invariably go into our pockets seeing the pitiable condition of these children, but please tarry a little here. Does the money that you give them actually help them or nourish them? The truth is bitter! These children are mostly chosen by gang members to invoke sympathy in the minds of people, so that they are given money. There are also alleged reports of other harsh realities that suggest that these kids do not lose their limbs in an accident. So how does it happen? There are no guesses to make here. These innocent children are physically and mentally tortured. They are taught how to beg, pose sad faces, and cry. If they do not cry, then they are beaten up. There are also gangs who 'steal' small children to make them beg.
Such a case was reported by CNN this year. A 7 year old Bangladeshi boy was brutally mutilated by gang members as he refused to beg. The boy was hit on the head with a brick and his throat was slit. When his mother found him, he was hardly recognizable. This young boy survived and has become the key witness in a national investigation against the gang members in question.

Shocking everybody, a report by the Human Rights Commission in India has said that apart from begging, children are kidnapped for various purposes, "Working as cheap forced labour in illegal factories, establishments, homes, exploited as sex slaves or forced into the child porn industry, as camel jockeys in the Gulf countries, as child beggars in begging rackets, as victims of illegal adoptions or forced marriages, or perhaps, worse than any of these, as victims of organ trade and even grotesque cannibalism."

A CNN IBN special investigation in 2006 had proved the existence of Beggar Mafia in Mumbai. The investigation had astonishingly linked mafia to doctors. The IBN report had said, "For the greed of earning a few substantial extra bucks, these doctors are ready to forget their professional ethics and code of conduct. The investigation reveals the brutal truth of these doctors, who charge large sums of money and comply with the Beggar Mafia in amputating limbs of perfectly normal people and force them into begging."

In 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was forced to order an enquiry as the scenes of movie slumdog millionaire became a reality. The Daily Mail carried a report on how gangs were severing the limbs of street children in Mumbai to make them beg for extra money. Irrespective of the concern show by the PM, the ground reality has hardly changed.

So how can we really help these poor children? Giving a few coins or notes that are taken by the mafia gangs may not be the right way. The existence of children begging racke
ts may actually have arisen due to people giving large amounts to these unfortunate mutilated kids. Instead it would be a great idea to directly provide them treatment ,and food so that they are also nourished and there is no such thing as begging mafia in the long run .