Child beggars each earn S$200K a year

Child beggars each earn S$200K a year

These kids do not have play time, snack treats or an education. They are worked to the bone — just so their bosses can live in luxurious villas. They beg on the streets in the rain, sleet, snow and scavenge for food…

Child beggars each earn S$200K a yearParents, in most cases, work very hard to provide their kids with a brighter future -- a life of comfort and of joy. But as we know, not all kids are awarded that luxury. Some kids were born just to provide for their gang bosses by begging.

In BBC’s Panorama exposé, kids as young as four, are raking in the dough for their Romanian gypsy crook bosses. Unfortunately, the vicious cycle is perpetuated as teen beggars have kids of their own and proceed to make them beg as well.

Daily drudgery

Panorama followed the plight of a little girl for months as she begged on the streets. Through rain, sleet and the blistering winter’s snow, little Alice, who looked no more than four, worked the streets.

Reporter John Sweeney said: "We filmed Alice for months, watching her use a phone box for a toilet and scavenge food from McDonald's. It was like the 21st-century version of Oliver Twist."

Do not underestimate how much these little ones can earn for their mean bosses. A restaurant owner shared that some child beggars can bring in about £500/S$1000 a day!

Chief Inspector Colin Carswell said: "The gang place the earning potential of a single child in London at not far off £100,000/S$ a year -- begging and stealing and being used for benefit fraud."

Modern day slavery

This is just one form of inhumane child exploitation, amongst other that you can read on the daily news. Christine Beddoe, UK director of ECPAT ( End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking) said that throwing these kids on the street and demanding that they beg, robs them of their childhood.

She said: "It means that they are denied an education, they'll have nutrition issues, health issues. They'll also grow up believing that this is the only way, or the normal way, of earning a living."

The former Metropolitan Police Supt. Bernie Gravett who led an operation that targeted the people behind the child beggars said, "This is modern day slavery. How does a four-year-old child consent to be exploited? They won't know that it's criminal to beg on the streets of the UK. They are kids."

Luxury funded by little beggars

Just so you get the idea of the lavish lifestyles that is the result of children begging on the street, we’d give you details of the quality life these Romanian gang bosses are luxuriating in…

The town of Tanderei is lined up with extravagant villas, some of which police believe was paid for with the cash earned by begging children. Petrica Dragusin, who was arrested for alleged child trafficking said bluntly about the entire town knowing how to work Britain’s benefit system: “The blame is with the British state, which gives them a lot of money. They have lots of children, seven, eight or 10 children, and if they have many children they build a villa. Some collect £10,000, £12,000, £13,000 a month - they have three or four of five sets of benefits."


Panorama BBC report



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Written by

Felicia Chin

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