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May 20 2022 7:42 PM ˚
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‘Organized begging’ a crime, labeled as human trafficking

Law changed to limit exploitation of children, disabled

Kid begging in Jordan
In this file photo, a boy is seen begging on a street in Amman (Photo: JNews)
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AMMAN — “Organized begging” is now deemed a human trafficking crime under a new legislative amendment, published in the Official Gazette on Sunday.
اضافة اعلان
The amendment to the Prevention of Human Trafficking Law for 2021 classifies “organized begging” as a punishable crime, for which offenders can face temporary labor for a period of no less than seven years, and a fine of no less than JD5,000.

Director of the Anti-Vagrancy Department at the Social Development Ministry, Maher Kloub, told Jordan News that the ministry itself demanded the recognition of organized begging as a punishable crime.

“While we were monitoring the behaviors and actions for beggars, especially around traffic lights, we noticed some people sitting in their cars near those beggars,” he said. “Their role is to protect those beggars from us by informing them of our presence in the area.”

Kloub added that “34 of [the organizers] were able to run and escape. We could not do anything to them because there were no laws that criminalize their actions, and beggars, who are often children, were the sole criminals, according to the old laws.”

“Those beggars are victims,” he said. “Their families throw them to the streets and lead them to begging. Those who do this need to be criminalized I believe.”

Asma Khader, President of the Sisterhood is Global institute (SIGI), expressed her pleasure over the new amendments in an interview with Jordan News. She confirmed that this step could limit organized begging significantly.

“There is a difference between persons practicing begging because they really need to do that to get money, and persons who do that as a profession in an organized way by taking advantage of the children and the disabled,” she said.
“They are exploited and used for the benefit of someone who may not need the money. This is the real definition of organized begging.”

"Considering this action as a punishable crime in the new laws should limit it in the near future," she added.

Raed Athamneh, an attorney, told Jordan News that "the old law was issued in the 60s, when Jordan's population was extremely small. The law was not keeping pace with the current situation, where the population is much bigger, leading to a rise in poverty, which in turn led to a rise in the number of beggars.”

"Begging turned nowadays into a real profession for a large number of people as a means for income,” Athamneh said.

"These new laws would limit this phenomenon, and act as a deterrent to those people," he said.

The law that was published in the Official Gazette yesterday will be implemented thirty days after its publication.

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