Bulgaria Agrees Joint Action to Curb Organised Begging in Sweden
There are about 5,000 beggars in Sweden, of which about 1,000 have come from Bulgaria, according to estimates of the Swedish authorities, Bulgaria’s Labour Minister Ivaylo Kalfin said on Friday.
The authorities must distinguish between those who are begging because they have no other opportunity to get by, and the organized trips of groups of people willing to exploit the feeling of compassion towards beggars in Sweden or any other country, Kalfin said at a joint press briefing with the visiting Swedish Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Asa Regner, according to BGNES.
Police cooperation could prove the best deterrent "when it comes to organized business, organized illegal activity, in which unfortunately children and people with disabilities are involved," the Bulgarian news outlet quoted Kalfin as saying.
A large part of the beggars in Sweden are begging voluntarily but there are also people who are involved in organized begging, which could be considered a form of human trafficking, Asa Regner has said. Therefore, it’s very important to treat those foreign nationals involved in organized begging in the same way as the Swedish citizens would be treated in the same circumstances.
There are cases when people go to Sweden in search of jobs, taking advantage of the fundamental European Union right of free movement of people. However, reality doesn’t always match expectations and sometimes some of those people can’t find a job, remain penniless and have to beg in the streets to support themselves, Asa Regner said, according to BGNES.
“Of course, Bulgaria cannot not be cited as a major source of such problems, but those people who remain in the street, they are at agreat disadvantage. Most of them are Roma. A very large part of Roma children drop out of school, they have much bigger problems in finding employment,” Asa Regner said.
On Friday, Kalfin and Renger signed a letter of intent for cooperation in the social policy area aimed at improving the living conditions of vulnerable groups of people. They also signed a working programme for the period 2016-2017.
The letter of intent calls for the exchange of expertise in closing the channels for organized begging by Bulgarian citizens of Roma origin in Sweden, Kalfin said at the briefing, according to a press release of the Labour Ministry.
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