Factory for "production" of beggars

While continuing exploitation and transportation of children from vulnerable families and without personal documents which are transported into the cities to beg alms, criminals have gone a step further

By Arben ZEQIRI

One young girl, but aggravated by the conditions of life, holding a few months baby in her hands sitting on a sidewalk in the center of Tetovo. Inspired by the allegations circulating in public, that to those babies were given alcohol and various sedatives to keep them asleep, I was getting closer to the girl that repeats every moment rhetoric of seeking alms. I ask if is her baby and she just claimed and then head down to the ground and continues with the same prayer "God preserve you," "God forbid children" ...

For the second time I asked her where is that baby come from and why her child was asleep in the middle of that noise. At the moment she stands up and walks away without answering a few steps further on looking at me with averted eyes. Little farther than that , in a green park is a man , a woman and two other children , which  a girl with a baby in her hands tends to join them. At the moment she approaches an elderly person and pointing a finger at me and then he walks to me , with an unusual serenity.

After a greeting , he asked me if I  am a cop or inspector , while I keep  from initially saying that im an ordinary citizens and I am worried about the baby . He told me that the baby girl's sister who holds in his hands , and not her daughter , while four children and wife are one which sadly we only follow a few steps away . I asked for a brief conversation and introduced that  am a journalists that wants to know the truth about many rumors in the opinion about their situation , after which the gentleman put his hand on my shoulder and invited me to join them in their shelter which in fact it was only a tree that makes shade .

Gentleman belonged to the Roma and he speaks Albanian, but with the accent barrier , while fluently speaks  Macedonian . Initially I asked why he has collected the children and they are not "doing" the work that we have seen repeatedly making. "It is time for the food, come along if you want to accompany us," said the host city park. I said I do not want to delay,i want to ask you two or three questions, while children and ladies can continue with their food. The first question he knew himself to laugh and replied at once.

"No, we are not from  those coming from Skopje with that blue minibus. I am alone with my family and i  take public transport or taxis to travel in line Tetovo-Skopje ", said the person, despite my presentation, did not reveal his name. Since being released in the conversation, I explained to him that I do not want to harm him and his family, but I'm interested in you for the child abuse by organized groups, which he himself mentioned. I asked him: "There is only one minibus, one person who transports them, is he simply a taxi driver or he  has anything to do with those people who bring in Tetovo",  He says:  "No, there are some people but most of them comes with cars  with 4-5 children or mostly 16-17 year olds.

I know that there are 2 from Skopje and 1 from Kumanovo to have their groups with  children and other people who bring fromSkopje and other cities in Tetovo and then continue in other countries'', he explained, adding that it has to do with  powerful people  economically and physically, which take care for the safety of beggars in the field. Among  "independent" beggars and those that are part of the clan there is a "battle zones", which, as my interlocutor explained, these had stopped the other from  frequenting caffeterias when deployed members of the groups, and was only allowed to beg alms in city ​​streets.

In my question, why he has not offered his children to work in groups, my interlocutor answered and gave me the information so far unheard. He said that certain groups who exploit children, mostly Roma, violently forcing them to have sex with peers, or older men engaged in the same group. Not spared from this torture even younger girls, and the only condition is that they may arise. "I do not give two girls to them. It is enough 100 denars per day, i will  not allow to go there. My cousin sent his children and he now rarely see them. His 15-year-old girl was forced to have sex with one of the oldest in the group  in order to bear children when will go out in the field, the passersbye to feel sorry and give them money.

Then we wanted to know more about it, but we could not turn our daughter, and we learned that all the girls out there doing the same, become pregnant, but do not ever get married, "said the father of four children who did not talk at all away from the eyes.

He said that this phenomenon is present now three years. Babies that are born from these relationships outside of marriage, after age 3 years removed from their mothers and on their own streets, and they only returned in the evening to take care of their needs. The money for the victims of these groups gather throughout the day, evening master shall provide for compensation which gives only the food which it says my collocuters does not fullfill even the minimum of the needs. I 've seen those kids , they only eat a muffin in the morning , a cheap sandwich after day and everything ends here . I would have never allowed my children to be used in this way , I know that we will die of hunger but i wont give my girls there, even these two olders or in the future nor this little baby , "said the man in age . The accompanying his son the  three sisters whenever they separated and one girl always joiend father  where he  went , while the eldest daughter and the younger stayed with brother.Mother was running  the third  direction and so distributed to gather in the evening on the outskirts of town to await transport to return to Skopje .

Most children and adults who encountered streets seeking alms do not have personal documents , and are not even registered in the records of state institutions , so it makes the job easier thugs who abuse children beggars. This is confirmed by city police years ago in collaboration with the regional center for employment and social policy took action to remove the beggers from city streets and prosecution of persons who leave children in this kind of "occupation".

Due to lack of documentation, the Department of Interior in Tetovo say that they have difficulties to impose and enforce penalties for violation that law provides. "The problem of begging is a social problem rather than security and therefore greater attention devote adequate social services. Most people who beg are undocumented and extremely difficult financial situation, and therefore any request for payment of the fine becomes quite inappropriate, because of whom have virtually no pay penalty prescribed for the offense, "said spokesman SUP Tetovo, Marjan Josifoski.

Tetovo Police do not know yet official information placed on organized groups that exploit and smuggle children who are forced to beg and much less information than they are raped. Over the past year , SUP Tetovo has filed three lawsuits for the offense , but as we learn from reliable sources , it is the parents who are convicted for their children , but not for the criminal misuse and forcibly compel children others in this type of criminality . " Last year , 2012 , in the region of Tetovo SPB recorded three offenses , the omission of minor children , who are closely associated with begging alms . Two cases have been in the region of Tetovo and Gostivar", police spokesman Tetovo , Marjan Josifoski said.

Even the father of four children that we encountered on the streets of Tetovo said that years ago was one of those convicted of this offense , as social workers and police have encountered it in a similar place with his children who security forces chased the streets.

This confirms and further information from our sources within the police that the accused last three are parents and not real criminals . However, despite last year, this year the police and social workers in Tetovo have not caught any of the children who beg city streets, much less criminal and even parents who beg with their children despite statements that "commit to prevent this from happening".

"This year we do not have any criminal charges for such offenses, or misdemeanor charges for begging in the streets. Otherwise, this year's activities are continuously carried out, together with the Centre for Social Work, for finding and treatment of persons who beg in the streets of the city of Tetovo and Gostivar. Bearer of the activities the Center for Labor and Social Policy, and the employees of SIA Tetovo and logistics support in these activities", says Josifoski.

For new ways of child abuse are not even aware of the First Children Embassy "Megasi" which only calls misuse begging alms in what form. See this problem more from the social point of view and as a result of carelessness adequate institutions to vulnerable families by this phenomenon. "At the first embassy of children Megasi and SOS line for children and young have not received denunciation about children who beg and misused by criminal groups. But, begging alms in itself is the worst form of child labor abuse, which threatens the basic rights of children among them the basic human right to life. Misuse of child labor directly related to the poor and inclusion of children into regular education. Some poor families can not allow direct or indirect expenditure on children's education, "said Dragi Zmijanac, founder of the First Children's Embassy in the world, Megasi.

The embassy has consistently sought greater involvement of local institutions to improve the lives and living standards of vulnerable families and social inclusion of their children in the educational system and education in the country, as the only form of struggle against the phenomenon of begging charity by minor children. "As for these families is not provided employment for at least one member, a roof and involvement of children in compulsory primary education, street children will still remain victims of poverty and illiteracy," says Zmijanac.

Otherwise, during the summer season when in Tetovo and western cities in Macedonia is  increased influx of migrants returning home, city streets significantly increase the number of child beggars. Many citizens are witnessing vans that bring in certain places and deploy child who then leave the streets and in the same place they receive late in the evening. People who run this type of crime, according to conversations bazaar, are very dangerous and have no fear nor enforcement. The latter have often even blind eye to child beggars before their feet, and in many cases can not justify that operate without the presence of social persons.

"The investigation is supported by CIN SCOOP MACEDONIA within the project Raising awareness about corruption though investigative report"

You can read the original article here: http://scoop.mk/investigations/201.html

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