Begging is a phenomenon common in most major cities around the globe. As of late, the number of beggars in countries like Finland have been increasing. Nordic countries have a fairly hostile environment, which has limited the flow of beggars into them for some time. As the conditions in places like the Roma communities in Romania are at nearly third-world standard, with little literacy, few jobs, and bad living conditions, emigrating to another country to beg becomes more and more attractive as an option. These people live for around 3 EUR a day, and can make more than 20 EUR a day by begging. The numbers given by beggars are 20-25 EUR, while those given by store owners where the beggars exchange the coins to notes give amounts between 50-80 EUR. The point is, that they can make far more money by begging abroad, than by working(if they get a job at all) in their own country.
There is an article dealing with this issue on the website of the largest newspaper in Finland: Here
Now, the culture in countries like Finland has virtually no experience with begging. The recent influx of beggars has caught the people off-guard, and when beggars ask people for money, they seem to give it. People aren't accustomed to begging, and the beggars make a lot of money. There are no laws against begging, and as long as the beggars don't abuse the Finnish social security system, or commit crimes, they can't be deported. As the word spreads, the influx of beggars can be expected to increase. People that give rather freely, and little official interference are attractive features in a country for a beggar. The same happened to Norway earlier, and from all the other cities in Europe it can be expected that increased crime will follow the beggars. As people become more accustomed to begging, the amount of money the beggars get decreases. This has led to beggars harassing especially older people for alms, as they tend to be more sympathetic with beggars. Beggars in front of shops has the effect of reducing business for the shop-owners, as people do not wish to confront the begging. Shop owners have been complaining of some beggars doing this.
The greatest issue I have with begging is the tendency of some beggars to attempt to garner the sympathy of passersby with small children. Frequently these children have to stay outside for extended periods, inadequately fed and clothed. Now, the weather in Finland has a tendency to be wet, windy and cold for most of the year. For most of the year, the temperatures don't go above 10 degrees centigrade(50 degrees Fahrenheit). During the winter, the temperatures usually range between -20 and 0 degrees centigrade (-4 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit), in addition to raining sleet and snow.
In places like Thailand, the beggars are usually working under different gangs and organized crime. Giving money to these beggars directly aids the crime in the area. As the number of beggars increases, evidence of organization usually emerges. The beggars are assigned different posts around the city, and at the end of the day the gains are pooled(whether this money is then distributed, or if it goes to the pocket of someone is not certain).
These people come from shitty living conditions, but do not tend to have intentions of settling down and getting a job. Some do come to stay: They come, beg for a while, get a job, form ties with groups relating to them(such as various Roma organizations), get an place to live, start to learn the language and start being a productive member of the society. Some people don't. These people keep begging, semi-enforcing old people to give them money, and keep pissing me off by getting in my way, trying to get what little money I have, and subject their children to horrid conditions. The best way to discourage begging is by not giving, but apparently a lot of people don't realize that. It also annoys me that they seem to target older people who already live on limited pensions. Many beggars are perfectly capable of working, but feign disabilities in order to be pitied.
I understand that they come from bad conditions, but I'm a little low on sympathy when they come to ruin my day by harassing me when I'm walking in the city.
The officials are at a loss how to deal with them, as it is a new phenomenon. Have these issues been solved elsewhere, and more importantly: How successfully?
I've made this thread in hopes of initiating discussion, and hearing the opinions of others regarding the begging phenomenon in other countries as well. What do you think about beggars, and what should be done with them?
tl;dr Beggars. What do you think about them?