The prefectural police department of Agadir has decided to clampdown on professional begging with DNA tests. The police will now use DNA tests to verify the relationship of beggars to the children accompanying them.
This initiative comes after the discovery of several networks specialized in begging and exploiting children and infants.
The “human trafficking” mafias go even further by teaching the children how to trigger people’s pity. The professional beggars also give the children sleeping pills to assure they’re calm during ‘begging hours’.
Professional begging has become a widespread phenomenon in all parts of Morocco. Large cities such as Casablanca, Tangier, Marrakech, and Fez are the most affected by this trend.
On April 20, passersby caught a man and a woman who were about to abduct a child in front of a kindergarten in Taddart, in the commune of Anza in Agadir.
The incident was caught on camera. Following the aborted kidnapping, the woman said that they lure the children with treats before taking them in a car to a female beggar who lives in Izeggane, Ait Melloul (15 kilometers south of Agadir).
Assabah Newspaper reported a similar case of the attempted kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl in the same neighborhood the day before, April 19. Luckily, local residents aborted the kidnapping.
Many beggars use children to soften their potential targets. Children are often rented by drug-using parents to professional beggars.
The Moroccan Penal Code sanctions professional begging. Article 326 stipulates that “anyone with means of subsistence resorting to begging shall be punished by imprisonment for one to six months.”
Similarly, Article 330 addresses the exploitation of children. The article says that whoever delivers a child to one or more beggars or vagrants is punished by “six months to two years imprisonment.”