This article is about begging scams, trying to get as much money as possible, usually from tourists, for whatever purpose. Good or bad isn’t ours to decide. It’s impossible to judge about who is begging or for what reasons and who are the ones who really need or deserve help and who don’t. Just be informed and do what feels good for you with giving money or not. Anyway, be careful and aware when you pull your wallet or money from your pocket in case you like to give.
In many of the Asian countries you will find beggars who ask for money or food and other things. Those are the openly beggars. Don’t forget that there is also a way of hidden begging. People of the developed world are extremely rich in the eyes of the people in poor countries and therefore you become their opportunity to give it a shot. Below you’ll find some of the tactics and ways used by beggars regarding openly begging.
Begging as a job
Some choose begging as a profession because it makes more money than others earn in regular jobs. For others it’s simply a survival method. There are beggars working for a boss and/or in groups. At the end of the day they must give the money to the boss. The boss gives a bit of money back and might provide for a meal or roof. You might have seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire. It’s not happening only in movies.
Begging with babies
Begging mothers often carry their kids with them. That can have several reasons. One can be that otherwise they don’t have care for them. Another reason is that it might touch more people their hearts and therefore the possibility to get more money from people.
Borrowed babies. You will see very young girls with babies, desperately asking for your help (money). In fact these girls try to trick you, because the baby is not their own. The real mother gives the baby to the girl for the day. In this way the mother can go to her work and the girl can try to make more money as well. At the end of the day the girl brings the baby back to the mother and gives her a part of the begging income. Although here too can be more reasons behind this tactic, like friends who try to help each other to make money and therefore give their baby to one another.
One thing for sure, you often see girls with a baby in the morning in one area of the city and hours later another girl with the same baby, or the same girl with another baby, in another area.
Baby needs milk scam
An often used tactic is the young girl with a baby on her arm, asking for milk for the baby by putting the empty bottle straight in your face. She usually looks poor and it can give you a feeling that you need or want to help. Now you think that you will be smart by making clear that you aren’t willing to just give money which she then can use for different purposes.
She takes you into a nearby supermarket and point at the powder milk. You grab a small can, but she insists to buy the bigger one. This wasn’t totally your plan, but your heart might tell you that this one time paying a bit more for a bigger can won’t hurt you and it’s for a good purpose, you buy it because the baby needs milk. You walk out, maybe even proud with the help you gave. Now wait around or in another building or street, and look where the girl is going with the can milk. Usually she returns to the supermarket and comes out without milk but with money in her hand, which means the baby didn’t need milk at all.
People with disabilities don’t have much opportunities to earn money either. They are more stuck to one single spot, sitting at a busy place with an empty can or piece of cloth where people can put some money. Even with these kind of beggars there are sincere ones and cheaters. You never know the real stories. You can look at their physical condition, but always remember that you can’t really look at something like this with the eyes of someone from a developed country. Because you don’t know the government system without help, or how it works in their society, where you are often kicked out as they might see it as a punishment from some god that you got disabilities. You might even be seen as a witch, no kidding here.
They have a background and story too. Some left their village house to escape domestic violence and abusive parents. Others were sent by their parents to find a job in the big city, but don’t know that the kids quickly end up on the streets as they couldn’t find or keep a job, or they quickly got into contact with the street kids scene. Many of them are sniffing glue from out of old plastic bags from the street. They are hanging out in gangs and have a lot of competition in between them. They roam around to do pickpocketing or steal from shops. Usually they are the most aggressive ones. Pay attention to this, especially when you are planning to give them money.
How to help
What is help? This is not an easy question to answer. Sure you can help by giving to beggars, but only unconditionally, without expectations. If you give with a demand that it will be well spend (according to your standards), then you might get disappointed. If you give with the expectation that you make a change, you will get disappointed. You’re not gonna make a long term change in their lives. You can give a short term change in their feeling. That can be by making sure that they have something to eat and they don’t feel hungry for a moment, or you give and it doesn’t bother you if the beggar gets drunk from it and at least can forget briefly about their misery. You also can just try to ignore as if they don’t exist and it’s not your problem. All totally up to you.
You can also donate to NGO’s and INGO’s (International Non Governmental Organisation) and you still have chances of scams. Managers and CEO’s take the biggest piece of the pie that is your donation. Little gets to the real problem solving. Orphanages do good things overall, but it’s well known too that many parents send a kid to an orphanage as they can’t afford the kid, or they can even get a bit money from the orphanage, who in return has more kids in the orphanage and can ask for more money to developed countries sponsors. With an orphanage where not even 25% is a real orphan. In other words, scams happen on the streets, but also in offices. Just be informed about some of the tactics!