Pakistan’s Beggar Mafia: A Tale of Closed Doors and Maimed Children
One would assume that something as degrading as begging would be the reality of someone that ran out of options. With mouths to feed and nothing but a few hopeless grains at home to cook, sometimes not even that, people resort to begging on the streets. Sometimes people sell religious books in order to make some money, to buy one time’s meal and sometimes when they grow tired of it, they turn to things far too heinous to even be recognized widely by our society. But once they turn to that side, it is hard for them to ever turn back.
Organized Beggar Mafia as Real as Poverty Itself
Pakistan’s beggar mafia is something that not many people have heard of, most will even deny that it is a real thing. But I can assure you that it is very much real and most of the people that you and I see out on the streets begging for scraps are indeed planted there with careful thought and construction.
Tricks to Fit the Part of a Beggar
People make use of disgusting trickery in terms of what they carry and how they dress so that they can appeal to the sensitive side of everyone walking by with a wallet. This, of course, works so gloriously that the average income of a beggar in a posh area is a minimum of 2 thousand rupees per day. And that is just the minimum amount. It has become a profession so profitable that if you offer a beggar anything other than money, say a job opportunity, he will laugh in your face and deny to be associated with anything as such. Begging is a curse on our society and it is not because of the need that drives these people but the lack of ambition that keeps them in this particular state.
A woman dressed in a tattered shalwar kameez holding a baby who can’t seem to hold his posture makes your heart leap out of your chest, and the money out of your purse. You wouldn’t be able to live with yourself if you knew that poor child went to bed on an empty stomach in some dark corner of the city that no one dares visit. But would you ever stop to consider what the actual story might be?
Most women that are a part of organized begging “hire” babies to beg from families that need a share of what these women make while they beg. In order to make the babies docile, they are drugged heavily to the point that they sleep for days straight without so much as a cry. This is the baby that you just saw that you wanted to help. The help you give will not go to the baby, it will go into the hands of some mafia and do a lot more harm than good.
Beaten, Kidnapped and Maimed
Children between the ages of 1 to 13 are kidnapped, beaten and then forced to beg on the streets with women who look like them and can pass for their mothers. They are often maimed, bruised, and malnourished so that they may fit the part, the one that makes you fish out as much money as you can from your wallet before the signal turns green.
Where Does It End?
There are people, I agree, who don’t belong to any of these organizations and are actually in dire need of the help that we can give. But my question is, how do we differentiate between the two? If the authorities make an active effort against organized mafia with regards to begging then our help would only ever go to the people who actually need whatever help we can give them so that their children at home don’t sleep clutching their stomachs aching with hunger.
I am aware that most of you guys who are reading will be cross with me after reading this post so let me clarify one thing right away: Not all beggars are part of the beggar mafia and not all of them make as much as an average beggar associated with the beggar mafia would. This article is in no way intended to discourage anyone from giving alms but is simply intended to make them aware of what goes on behind closed doors for most beggars that are associated with the beggar mafia.