Bangladesh to ban begging

Bangladesh Beggar

From the Guardian. (I saw the link on

Bangladesh’s newly elected government plans to eradicate begging from the streets of Dhaka and five regional cities during the next five years, after pushing an anti-begging bill through parliament this week.

The heart of the issue:

Farah Kabir, ActionAid Bangladesh’s country director, said: “The [Bangladeshi] government needs to spell out how it will achieve the ambitious target of eliminating begging in five years. We need to see the plan. We will welcome it if the plan is to move people out of poverty, to provide beggars with an alternative livelihood. But the question is, will it just be a measure to make the poor invisible? This was tried in the 1980s when beggars were moved to specially designated villages, but it failed.”

When I saw this headline I was immediately against the ban. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about issues (sweatshops, child labor) surrounding the world’s poor, it’s that I need to guard against my knee-jerk reactions. I rarely gave to the beggars of Bangladesh or anywhere else for that matter. A one-dollar gift on the streets of Dhaka, and you are surrounded by a mob of people wanting more. Plus, there is the issue of begging rings in which adults employ young children to beg for them. And even uglier yet are the instances of beggers intentionally maiming themselves — lopping off a hand — because a maimed beggar earns more.

Putting an end to begging won’t put an end to the living conditions that cause people to turn to begging. If anything beggars are reminders of how much work needs to be done to help the poor. Maybe we need reminded.

I agree with Mr. Fabir, if actions are taken to provide other options or some type of social safety net for the poor, then go ahead with the ban (although jail seems a bit extreme). If not, I think jailing a mother begging for money to feed her children when she has no other options is a violation of human rights.

Shushmita mizan says:

My first immediate reaction was no way! they can’t do this to the poor! but, then i thought about it and all the criminal groups that disable innocent individuals, so they can beg and earn for them. Moreover, people don’t even bother to find a proper job since they make more money from begging. But, yes it will fail if the government doesn’t provide alternative solutions to their living conditions especially the disabled beggars and some sort of soup kitchen or something. but i totally agree with your agreement and had the same reactions!

Shelby Loftin says:

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