“Help Them Right” Anti-Begging Campaign in Lattakia

Begging is a negative phenomenon. It is not a profession  and it  does no good for society but creates a burden for society and obstructs social and national development. There are vagrancy laws that make begging by the able-bodied a punishable crime.

The Directorate of  Labor and Social Affairs  in Lattakia has recently  launched in cooperation with Lattakia’s police   an  anti-begging  campaign   to combat the menace of begging .

 

Shedding light on the campaign’s goals , objectives and measures adopted to tackle this issue, the Syriatimes e-newspaper interviewed  Eng. Ahmed Ibrahim, Director of Labor and Social Affairs Directorate in Lattakia who said “   the phenomenon of begging has  spread in Lattakia , specially by children. Giving money to beggars gives  them no reason to engage with the services that could help them”.

He underscored that the main purpose of  this open-ended campaign  is not just   to eliminate the  phenomenon of begging,but  rather to  raise awareness about the negative impacts of begging especially on children, who are exploited by specialized gangs.

“ the main causes of begging that force  people to beg on busy streets  and adopt this humiliating activity   are mainly  the prevalence of :  poverty, illiteracy, disease, old age, handicapped people and  death of parents” Eng. Ibrahim explained.

He pointed out that due to the eight-year  brutal war on Syria,  a big number of families  were left homeless  with no choice but to move and settle on the streets to beg  because they have to survive.

Talking about children begging , Eng. Ibrahim said “ forcing children to beg is a criminal offence and a violation of children’s rights. The  campaign, which is held under the title  “Help them right” does not aim at negatively impacting children, who are exploited  and fall victims to physical or psychological abuse”.

He stressed the fact  that  “ what is even more worrisome is that children do not know about the importance  of going to school  or simply do not have the chance to go to school. The vicious circle raises fears that there will be an increase in child criminality if children continue to beg”.

“ there is always hope and it starts with education. Going to school  and  attending skills workshops all of these are steps towards alleviating the burden of street begging children” Eng. Ibrahim highlighted.

Eng. Ibrahim indicated the campaign  includes  the city and the countryside to ensure full inclusiveness and the ultimate elimination of this rampant phenomenon.

Ibrahim pointed out that when  children are caught begging , the patrols  in charge of combating begging ,  call for their  families to take their children and sign  a pledge not to repeat this violation, young men are sent to trial whereas elderly people are sent to elderly care centers .

“ As part of this campaign,  a special begging center is being established to take care of beggars and homeless  . Several vocational training workshops in different domains  are due to be held at the center to help the beggars and homeless start life again ,  have their own income and become active members in their societies”. Eng. Ibrahim concluded.

 

Interviewed by : Rawaa Ghanam

Photos by : Rawaa Ghanam