Labor Minister Kalfin Worried by Bulgarian Beggars in Sweden
Up to 15% of the beggars roaming the streets of Sweden are Bulgarian citizens, Bulgaria's Labor and Social Policy Minister Ivaylo Kalfin has said.
In an interview with the Bulgarian National Radio, Kalfin has announced that a joint action plan will be drafted by Bulgaria and Sweden to fight begging in the streets of Swedish towns and cities.
The minister has explained that in a number of cases people fall victims to "brokers" who pretend to be bringing them to Sweden for a seasonal job (such as fruit picking) but then leave them with no home or work.
Kalfin has also pointed to cases when people were lured into begging.
"A vast part of them are Roma... We [Bulgarian and Swedish officials] have agreed to work with the Bulgarian Interior Ministry so that [people] involved in this industry are punished. They will be sent back to Bulgaria," Kalfin has made clear.
His comments come against the backdrop of a recent anti-begging campaign launched in Stockholm by an anti-immigrant party in which "apologies" were offered in English to tourists and other guests of Sweden about illegal begging activity.
Kalfin is on a visit to Sweden where a EU social ministers' meeting is taking place on Thursday.
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