Begging – The Ugly Truth Behind The Ultimate Business

This is quite a delicate subject, but because of the image Romanians have abroad, especially in Europe, I’d like to clarify a few aspects for those who hate and blame, without knowing the true story behind the appearances.

I did my share of travel around Europe, and it happened a lot of times to have people walk away on me after they find out I’m from Romania. Even worse, I was asked what’s my real nationality, because I can’t be a Romanian, as Romanians are black?! Wait a minute … I can’t tell you how much those events hurt, but they did taught me something: ‘Do not judge people based on their nationality‘. Even better: ‘Do not judge at all’.

I know other groups, like Muslims, get identified often as terrorists, because of the acts of a few individuals. Same happens to us, as Romanians, but that just doesn’t apply to every individual coming from that group, and judging them in such a way, might make you lose the chance to meet unbelievable people, and in the end, it’s everyone’s loss …

Because of my image as a citizen of Romania, in the European space, I learned to adapt, first give people a chance to know me, and later tell me where I am from. Do this in reverse order, and some might decide that you are there to commit crimes, steal or beg and don’t want to have anything to do with you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame people for hating most part of the population coming from my country. With all the crimes, and begging and not acting proper in a society, I also wouldn’t be very happy about having them around. However, what most Europeans don’t know is that we’re not all like that small percentage of people who do the damage, and the population of the country is divided into 2: Romanians and RRomanians (in translation: The Romani, Roma, or Gypsies, whichever term is more familiar).

beggarNo, not all Romanians are gypsies, and not all gypsies are Romanians. Also, not all Romanians are good people, as not all  gypsies are bad people.

With the economical situation in the country only getting worse, and less and less work places available, more and more people leave, to find a better paid job, somewhere in Europe. And no, Romanians don’t go abroad to beg or steal, but they go there to study or work, very hard, to provide for their families, left back in the country. Same do some gypsies leaving the country to beg and steal (not all gypsies do this, by the way), as the economical situation from abroad also gives them a chance to a better financial situation.

How Begging Really Works – The Ugly Truth

To be honest, I never gave money to beggars and I never will either, and this is not because I am a hateful, mean and selfish person, but I believe help comes from doing the exact opposite, as I know what happens behind the scenes, once you support such an ‘industry’. Also, I don’t believe you should have a bunch of babies and expect the society to raise them for you. It’s cruel towards the child, as you don’t give him any chance to a decent life and education, and is also not fair toward the hard working citizens. For most people, food doesn’t reach the table unless they work very very hard, and when you come from a not so rich family, you find the supporting their situation far away from moral.

I had a talk a few years back with a beggar, and he told me how much he earns, and I was in shock, as … it was double my salary back then! And I need to go to my job, and work hard everyday, sunrise to sunset, for those money. Money don’t come easy, at least to some people they don’t.

The number of kids such a couple have, go all the way to 10-12 or higher, depending on the bride’s age, which sometimes can be only 10-12 years of age, while the groom can be 40 years plus, or even older – illegal ‘marriages’, of course, as the legal age to get married, in Romania is 18, or 16, only with both parent’s approval. Even when the long hand of the law makes it into one of their villages, they all act like no one got married, no one has ever seen anything wrong, the police gets threatened and forced to leave. As the forces of the country are very underpaid, they don’t even believe it’s worth risking their lives for such a matter, so they leave, and the life of the new couple continues.

And the situation is even more severe than this, so I believe everyone should know about it, in order to put a stop to it.

OldBeggar1Oh, the good old Romanian joke with: ‘I have 7 brothers back home … ‘. The perfect begging line. However, you can’t just go on the street and beg. It doesn’t work like that, unless you want to get yourself murdered. There’s an entire network behind every begging person, and you beg for that network, with their approval. And they even make a line for you, which you have to say, all day long. If you don’t comply or perform, the consequences are violent and terrible.

As you might already know, for gypsies, the more kids, the better, because they use the babies as tools to touch your feelings so you provide. And you give money and food to a mother with a baby, or to a young child, and the food and money get taken away by the ‘daddy’ who waits around the corner in his Mercedes (typical car for the situation). It’s all a family business, a very extended family, that’s true.

A few years ago, I was in the subway, when 2 gypsy ladies (with 4 young kids and a toddler) took a sit, while the kids started begging around. I overheard, by mistake, their talk, and one said to the other: ‘Oh, this one is already 2 and a half, and he’s getting too old. I need to make another one fast.’. Business as usual … While a normal mothers would worry about the toddler’s first kindergarten day.

Sleeping babies? – Guess again!

Did you notice how suspiciously quiet the babies in the arms of the beggar are? No, the babies aren’t sleeping, but you have all the right to believe that. Let’s be honest, how do you make a baby/toddler sit still, in the same spot, and not get bored, a whole day? The babies aren’t sleeping but they are drugged! Yes, they give them drugs. Of course, a children’s body is not able to cope with such a shock and often dies, sometimes even during the ‘work schedule’. You might think that’s the end of the theater? No, the mother has to hold the dead child in her arms, until evening, as the rules of the game are as such.

Even worse, some go as far as mutilating themselves or their children, just to look a bit more impressive, so you will give away some extra cash, while others pretend having health problems or issues with their limbs, and get up and start running, at the end of the ‘work day’. The latter happened in front of one of my friends, who used to give money to a ‘handicapped’ boy, until one day, when a miracle happened, and she saw him get up and walk away, heading home, like any person would, after a day of work. Lesson learned, I suppose.

Why Begging Abroad?

Most of Romanians clued in on what’s going on, especially when you see the poor beggars driving Mercedes around the city (still dressed like the poorest people you’ve ever seen), and living in real palaces. Not houses, but palaces. Try to drive through one of their towns, and click pictures (it happened a while back to a reporter from UK, who barely made it out alive, after recording the reality of the houses they live in). Here’s how some of their houses look like, just so you understand where your money go to:


… And we don’t provide for their lifestyle anymore. Less and less people do. So, they leave, not only because Romanians are poor and can’t afford to give them stuff, but also because people got of sick of seeing so much laziness and abuse.

Again, this is not meant to sound racist or judgmental in any way, as some gypsies are hardworking people, and do provide for their families, and live normal lives. Such a situation makes them look bad as much as it makes us as Romanians look bad, and gets them as well as people like me, to be discriminated severely in the European society. And we’re all part of the problem, by supporting the wrong kind of behavior.

Still, people from abroad don’t know what’s really going on. Not yet. If you want to help the poor, go to a state institution or NGO dealing with supporting people in need. There you can volunteer or donate and get informed about what else you can do, to improve someone’s life. That’s the correct way to go about it, not by encouraging all of the above.

You have to power to stop the begging, the discrimination of all Romanians and the abuse! Next time you give money to help a poor mother with a child, or to a young child begging on the street, please think again about what’s the moral thing to do. Think about the cruelty and abuse behind the ‘business’. If you don’t encouraging such a behavior, it will stop and they will eventually have to look for a job, as all people do, and treat their kids as human beings, not as tools for making fortunes.

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36 thoughts on “Begging – The Ugly Truth Behind The Ultimate Business

    • Hey Maria! Cred ca toti am fost tratati macar o data asa, la nivel international. Si eu am patit sa vorbesc cu cineva, si cand a aflat de unde sunt, sa plece in timpul conversatiei … E trist, dar incerc prin articolul asta sa fac cetatenii Europeni sa realizeze ca nu toti suntem asa, si nu este in regula sa discriminezi un grup, in baza faptelor catorva indivizi. Sper sa functioneze 🙂 Iti doresc un weekend minunat!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve read a lot about the begging networks, and about the children that are drugged. I was really shocked when I became aware of that. In Bruxelles, they drop the beggars in strategic places with a mini bus. It’s a real business. And near my work, there is guy who’s begggint at a crossroad and one day he’s limping from the left leg and the other day, from the right. I’m always passing in front of this place at the same hour everyday, so I can see him !!!! It’s ridiculous !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading, Gin! At least you are aware of that! Indeed, they get a free ride, in the morning, to the location, and in the evening they get picked up, and all their money and possessions are taken away. And no, they rarely have any visible health issues, but they are very good actors, and when you have flexible joints, the performance is even better. I really hate to see them beg. They made their way all the way into smaller towns in NL!!! I was so angry to pass by them, one day, when I went to the supermarket. That’s why people run away from me, because they associate me with the same activities…. I really wish people would stop give them money, so they would just get a job and support themselves. I just had to let it out there, and inform as many people as possible about this. Hope it works. Have a lovely weekend! ❤


  2. Very well written article Lucy. I don’t know anything about Romania, so this is interesting. We have a lot of beggars here in SA too, in the middle of the street at traffic lights etc. Like you say, the only way to help truly needy people is to donate to the appropriate charities. It is a very sad fact that women have kids just to get money, but that happens world wide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading! Unfortunately not a lot of people are ware of the situation. They have kids for this purpose only, and there are whole networks behind them…. Not sure why this is more attractive than actually making a living and giving your kids a decent life.
      I don’t like the idea of being judged by foreigners because of the way some individuals act, but it happens to a very high degree. UK, for instance, doesn’t want any more Romanians to go there for work, without knowing that there are 2 types of Romanians out there, and not all of us go there to steal or beg.
      Very sad situation, but I’ve decided to clarify a few aspects through this article, hoping people will stop supporting this kind of attitude.
      Have a lovely weekend! x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Lucy,
    Thanks for writing such a thoughtful and honest article on a very sensitive topic. I think it will help people to become more aware of the situation. As always, your writing is so classy 🙂
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Takami,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Your kind words are very much appreciated and they put a smile on my face 🙂
      I also hope this article will get the message out there. It’s very much needed.
      Have a lovely weekend!
      Sending hugs,


  4. Locally, a study of beggars showed that they make about $30 per hour (U.S.). Pretty good wages! There are fewer gypsies here, and beggars are of all colors, races, nationalities, and genders. They are often veterans, persons who are mentally ill, those who are unemployable, alcoholics, etc. I have seen the “crippled” man in the wheelchair get up at the end of the work day and push his wheelchair away. I think the beggars are less organized in the US, but you never know. Usually its the hookers with a manager and a quota.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts with us! Wow, 30 USD per hour? That’s a lot. This ‘job’ definitely has material advantages, and this is why people do it…
      I came across an article about drugged beggar babies, and it looks like it’s a phenomena happening worldwide, not just in Europe, but in EU I know for sure they are very well organized, and place the beggars wherever they are needed, by car, everyday. I believe it’s extremely cruel to use a child as a tool to make money, but unfortunately it happens quite often over here.
      Still, what bothers me the most is the image I get, at an international level, because of a few individuals who live their life this way…
      Have a lovely weekend!
      All the best,

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know that. I have a lot of friends in USA and they tell me the same thing. However, if you go to Spain, France, Italy or UK, you might get some nasty looks. It also happened to me in Netherlands, to meet people who aren’t very excited to have you around. Really sad to see people so judgmental … Anyway, i hope this post will reach its target, and clarify a few things.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing this Lucy. I can sense the urgency in you words, that there is a message you want to get out.
    I live in the country in Canada, so when it comes to begging, I am very naïve. But once a year, I would take the bus to downtown Toronto to visit my daughter. There are beggars, and my daughter knows the stories behind some of them, such a pretending to be crippled, and walking away at the end of the day. Also how much money they make in a day.
    I was shocked to read about babies being drugged in Romania. So sad. I had no idea.
    Thank you also for sharing about the stigma that Romanians face in Europe. I truly wish there were not prejudices in this world. In Canada, we know very little about the Romanian people and culture.
    Your writings are always so insightful and informative Lucy. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Carl!
      Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely comment!
      Yes, my main reason for writing this is to get the message out there and determine people to stop supporting such an attitude. I know they are so successful because most people, as you also mentioned, are naive, and have a big heart. But when you know the true story, you realize there’s no need of compassion, when there’s so much abuse hidden.
      From what I can see the stigma Romanians face in Europe, didn’t reach USA and Canada, which makes me really happy. This is because of the visa procedures, and the cost of the airplane ticket, which discourage beggars.
      Unfortunately, drugging babies isn’t a practice only in Europe, but it happens worldwide. It’s just horrible what some people are capable of, to make some extra cash.
      I’m happy to know you enjoy my writings. Always puts a smile on my face to know someone appreciates what I write 🙂 Thank you for that!
      Have a lovely weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words, Sue! Indeed, the situation is terrible, for a normal citizen, who tries to make a life somewhere else, in Europe. I really hate to see people generalize to such an extent, that it shuts the door to every individual coming from a particular country. Also, how some beggars treat their kids and the situation of the networks behind them, is really really sad. I hope my message will get out there, and will put an end to the discrimination and abuse.
      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Salut, foarte bun articolul dar permite-mi sa te corectez la ceva : cand ai scris “country is divided into 2: Romanians and RRomanians (in translation: gypsies)” mai corect ar fi fost sa folosesti expresia (The Romani (also spelled Romany), or Roma). E si corect gramatical si in acelasi timp se vede clar diferenta intre cele doua tabere. Respect

    Liked by 1 person

    • Salut,
      Iti multumesc mult pentru feedback! Ma bucur ca ti-a placut articolul. Sper ca mesajul sa ajunga cat mai departe de granitele tarii.
      O seara placuta!


    • Thank you so much for reading, Indah, and for sharing your thoughts. From what I’ve read, this happens all around the world, not just in Romania. The drugging babies, the networks…. It’s just so sad. Worse part is that a certain culture will be judged harshly, because of the actions of a few individuals who behave this way. I’ve been there so many times before, and it’s depressing.


  7. Thank you for your article. I had not believed about drugging babies when I heard it before. Sorry to hear that people in Europe are so prejudiced, in US we often think that Europeans are more enlightened than we are on other topics as GMO foods. Unfortunately, Europeans can be as stupid as Americans with their prejudices.

    In US, many of the homeless are mentally ill; just a little, not enough to be hospitalized, but too much to keep a job or a home. Anti-begging laws have been passed in many localities. But we do see people holding a sign to ask for money, food or a job.
    I don’t know if there is any solution. Give money to organizations that you know help people like that. It is great when one hears of people who were down on their luck and helped to get back on their own feet. There are success stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment! I just had to share my thoughts on this story, because it’s so delicate for many Romanians. I guess judgmental people are all over the world, not only in Europe. However, I can’t really blame them, when I see the damage that is done in European space.
      Informing is always good! And everyone should know the true story behind begging. The drugging babies is just the beginning. The punishment for not performing is very violent….so by giving, you are not helping at all.
      As you said, there are people who get help, and there are many others who succeed on their own. Real success stories, of wonderful individuals!


  8. I really liked your article. Here in Sweden the numbers of Romanian gypsies are increasing crazily. I think that it fits them perfectly, because Swedes are so socialistic and naive in this matter. I come from Slovakia and we have lots of issues with gypsies as well, so I am only annoyed when I see somebody giving them money. I also read an article in Swedish newspapers about a gypsy who found work in Sweden, but decided to quit because he makes more money begging.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Unbelievable story…. but yes, they do make more money like this. I know one gypsy who told me he makes double my salary, from begging only. So yeah, why bother work?
      I get so angry when I see people giving them money. It’s not moral and they are not helping them at all. If you want something, you have to work for it. That’s how it goes….
      I know westerners are really naive when it comes to this, so that’s why I decided to write this article. I hope the message will get across.
      Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts on the matter. Have a lovely day!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I don’t give money to children specially, yes to old ladies that seems to be alone. But with children no because that way I’d be supporting the cruelty of their parents that instead of working prefer to destroy any opportunity of education for them. Actually I guess in every place there are chances to even working giving flyers, there is no much place for beggars, but, it seems, for “smart” people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never seen people in such situations deciding to get a job. For a job they have to work, and why work for less money, and you can look pitiful and earn more?…Sad but true. I also don’t give money for the same reasons. It’s just cruel to force a child into such a life. If you make a kid, you should provide him with every possible tool, for a better future, not chop his roots with such things…
      In Ro, even old ladies or man are in the same situation. They followed an old man with a cam one day, just to find out he was living in a villa, and had quite a good life. I’m sure this is not the case of everyone, but most poor people choose to work and get out of the situation, instead of waiting for others to rescue them. At least this is how I would see it.
      Thank you so much for reading and for your feedback! Very much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting. I thought East Europe is catching up, especially after the downfall of the Berlin Wall.

    You seem to suggest that the mentality is the key. Unless, easterners change their mentality, the gap can only grow. What about migration? When people work/study abroad and return home, wouldn’t they bring in new ideas? Or these new ideas vanish quickly?

    For Romanians, what are the popular destination for emigration? US and UK?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading and the engaging talk!
      Unfortunately, the mentality is the key to progress, and as long as you live in the past century, from a lot of points of view, is not easy to improve yourself. I can’t really blame the only people though…Some just don’t have access to information, while others are just ignorant. The Government also doesn’t invest in education, and let’s be honest, that’s where change starts! But stupid people are always better than smart ones, as they get manipulated better.
      The people who decide to migrate, just like I did, do it either because they feel like they don’t fit in, and want a better living, or because they earn money easier in another state, if they go there to steal or beg. Unfortunately the latter, make the rest of the hard working Romanians look very bad.
      The destination varies depending on the season for moving. I think the people who move for work (professionals) and education choose more countries like UK, Germany, Netherlands (mainly northern countries) while the Romanians who go abroad for other reasons, go in countries in the south, like Italy, France, Spain. Is not a rule though, but what I know for sure is that some gave up lately on the American dream, for a country closer to home.
      It happened with people I personally know, who come to change stuff in Romania, to get turned down, because of their innovative ideas. People are reluctant to change, and they are willing to send you back from where you came from, only to don’t disturb their lifestyle. Pity…
      Amazing how only a few thousands km can influence such a difference in thinking!

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Government also doesn’t invest in education, and let’s be honest, that’s where change starts.”
        —I am not sure that is the answer for all changes. I thought ideas are contagious, at individual levels. Once people see a better way of living, they want that, too. For example, the downfall of Berlin Wall is because eastern Germans were so fed up and wanted the better life western Germans enjoyed. So to me it is a bottom-up change.

        I agree that social changes are complicated and there may not be a single grand solution (rightly so, if the social ills are so entrenched.) As such, they may take long time to occur. And luck may play a important role. In my limited knowledge, I thought Poles, Hungarians, and Czechs from the east block are doing well. In your view, what make them special? Put it another way, what make the change in Romania so difficult?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree with you! Ideas are contagious but good ideas come from access to information and education. If a society doesn’t have access to this, but only to manipulation through religion and politics, then is impossible to evolve. The difference between big cities and remote villages is so high, is not even normal.
        Change is very complicated, and it can’t happen over night. I don’t know why it takes Romania so long to do it, but I think part of the trouble is also corruption and the closing your eyes to everything wrong type of attitude. Also, everyone is interested in their own good, not in the good of the community, and when you only fight for yourself, you can’t make it that far. I hope things will change though, but it will take a very long time.
        Thank you once again for your comments and interest!

        Liked by 1 person

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