We’ve all had this conflicting feeling whenever we see a beggar on the street. On one hand, there is the sympathy element. On the other, there is this constant paranoia of getting hustled. If the beggar has a physical disability, the balance may shift towards sympathy but a certain degree of skepticism is still there.
The thought of there being a con at play here no matter how heartbreaking the situation may appear still crosses your mind. What if the beggar is just faking it?
Well, a video has just surfaced on social media that gives more weight to this fear.
In the video, a child beggar is exposed for faking a physical disability
The kid is supposedly wheelchair bound due to missing a leg. However, the men recording the video uncover that the kid has two functioning legs:
The kid had bent his leg inside his clothing to make it appear he’s missing one.
Everything said and done, it does look heartbreaking when the man threatened to put him in jail
In fact, these children are the biggest victim of the hustle perpetrated by the alleged ‘beggar mafia’. Children like the ones in the video are used by criminal groups for the purpose of generating money through begging, petty street crimes, acting as drug mules and even sex trade. It is believed that a lot of such children are kidnapped at an early age and forced to beg on the street. According to a BBC report around 3000 children were kidnapped in 2010 for this purpose.
These children are also at times deliberately made handicapped to attract public sympathy
Several children are also moved around shrines. Their appearances completely altered to fit the mold. A major example of this is Shah Daula kay choohey. They are basically adults suffering from microcephaly that are exploited as beggars by the mafia who perpetuate the myth of Shah Daula, a saint from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s era, cursing his disobedient disciples with deformed children. According to myth, Shah Daula had the power to cure infertile women. However in exchange, the women had to give up their first born to Shah Daula’s service. Those who disobeyed this order were cursed with children born with disabilities. For recent times, it is alleged that that mafia folks inflict this disability upon children by putting their heads in cages in order to use them for money.
Overall, there are over 1 million street children in Pakistan currently
According to the United Nations somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million children are thought to be on the streets of Pakistan’s major cities.
Some of their biggest issues; apart form a lack of education, clothing, food and lodging, include; stigmatization as criminals. Moreover, the threat of violence, robbery and exposure to drug peddlers is constant and a large proportion of them have experienced abuse and sexual exploitation.
Cover image via: Pakistani / YouTube