Professional beggars in Morocco: a profession that does not require a certificate or equipment

Abdelaziz Benabou

Rabat – “Al Quds Al Arabi”: A few days ago, a day before Eid al-Fitr, or at most three days, the doors of mosques and their courtyards in Morocco saw a great outpouring of beggars, who came in rows acted or was scattered. according to each of them who sees the “spoil” of charity, especially the “fitrah.” » This is zakat al-fitr as it is called in the country.

Moroccans are used to seeing this scene when Eid al-Fitr approaches or at the various religious events called “Al-Awashir”. Everyone knows very well that these people do not beg out of necessity as much as it is a profession they have practiced because it generates an easy and abundant income and there is no difficulty in it except to sit and clear the throat to loosen as much as possible. From pleadings or showing some worn papers which are originally medical prescriptions and analyses, God knows their source and owner and often they become plagiarism.
There are three types of beggars in Morocco: some beg for a living, such as the elderly and women who have no resources or families. But others are professional beggars, they do not have a physical or mental disability, their only activity is begging because they want to earn money easily. The third category is represented by the victims of begging networks, who are often very young children with special needs.
Thus, beggar became a profession that does not require a certificate, experience or equipment, only a few supplications, claims of diseases, lack of defects and a lot of “lack of modesty,” to then stand in front of the doors of mosques. ​or to go through. cafes and in front of the doors of bakeries, supermarkets, and even pharmacies and other daily forms of society in Morocco.
But what is interesting is that each station has its own category that knows how to extract dirhams from the pockets of citizens. The one standing in front of the bakery is not the one standing in front of a shop or a mosque ​​not, and so on. Specialization is the basis of this “profession” and it is never possible to “interfere” as it is an “art” mastered by “experts” The hand, which must first be consistent with care and so on, is one of the basic principles of a professional beggar.
The talks of beggars in Morocco are always accompanied by anecdotes and expressive jokes. The Moroccan eloquence crosses the banks of the scenes and embodies in a few words a situation that can only be depicted in a movie, and here a French movie appears a lot years ago In one of his scenes, a passerby on the sidewalk is known as a beggar, but the latter refused to accept that charity because he does not work on Sundays.
The same incident, repeated in a different way, when the beggar takes the weekend and happens to be on the bus, is one of the permanent alms, both in the same boat, and both take his family on a weekly tour, drink a cup coffee and eat sandwiches in a “hamburger” or “tacos” or “panini” restaurant. Or even “pizza” and why not.
That bus, whose passengers are daily beggars, its driver told that he advised a woman beggar to work, and assured her of his mediation to accept her, but her response was “logical” and shocking at the same time. Saiya,” as Moroccans say, is 150 dirhams (about $15) only in hard times, but in times of prosperity it far exceeds that amount.
The manager’s work is over, and he must understand that easy money tempts cold-shouldered people, and he must not interfere in the affairs of those who do not beg from poverty, but rather from a desire to earn easily, even if they waste their face in it.

shocking numbers

In light of the horror and the increase of the phenomenon, the numbers were also nothing but scary and shocking, and Moroccans expressed their surprise, but actually they know that they are referring to reproduction with the aim of circumventing and not to the reality of poverty suffered by those who increased the size of the mass in the statistics.
A study indicates that 43 percent of beggars are married, 26 percent are widowed, 20 percent are single and 11 percent are divorced.
Three years ago, the Ministry of Family and Solidarity and the Presidency of the Public Prosecution released data, stating that there are 195,000 beggars in Morocco, including 10,000 people who have been followed up on the misdeeds of begging.
The above numbers accompanied them, and there are still calls to stop the exploitation of children, for example, in beggars by women and even men, because there are those who rent their livers daily, and stay on the streets with the afternoon sun scorching them. heads, rain falls on their bodies and the cold envelopes them from all sides.
The Moroccan society is well aware that these people must stop extorting them with artificial diseases, fake diseases or alleged poverty. They know that half of the beggars are a group who wanted out of desire and are not forced to sleeping on the sidewalk and reaching out his hand. to passers-by.
Of course, no one denies that there are those who argue for a need, but they are the vulnerable group in this area, because they are a minority and are lost in the midst of the wave of the “professional phenomenon”, so to speak.

Accidents and arrests

As we mentioned, this subject is not free of anecdotes, oddities and wonders, the most recent of which is the arrest of a woman in Agadir who specializes in begging and owns a four-wheel drive vehicle.
The story is almost classified as a miracle: a middle-aged, wealthy woman who owns a house in an area of ​​the city of Agadir, drives her four-wheel-drive car far from her place of residence, wears a veil and shabby clothes, leaves her luxury car, wanders the neighborhoods, sits on the sidewalks and asks for alms, and at the end of the day any Her “work” of begging returns to her car, her house and her children.
The incident was the subject of the Moroccan security intervention, which arrested the person concerned and referred her to the court, which imposed a sentence of 6 months imprisonment effective against the beggar, who was described in the Moroccan media as ” Mall Kat Kat” was known. , meaning the owner of a four-wheel drive vehicle.
In addition to this incident, other incidents are attended, such as the beggar who died, and they found a huge amount of money that seems to be the proceeds of her begging for years. This exact story has parallels in other Arab countries when a beggar dies and wealth is found hidden under her pillow or in a corner of her dilapidated house.
An online newspaper told the story of a 70-year-old beggar named “Zahra” who became skilled at begging in the streets of Casablanca, its cafes and shops. Over time, she was able to collect 110,318 dirhams in cash (over 10,800 US dollars) and buy six gold bracelets worth 40,000 dirhams ($3,943) as well as a house she owned and another that during her arrest was in the bargaining stage.
When she was “working” next to a mosque, she was arrested by members of the municipal police and taken to a social center that houses the homeless, elderly and professional beggars. After investigating the old beggar, officials discovered that he had never had a national identity card. Then I got her her card from that community center for the first time, but she refused to deduct the cost of the ID card from her money. To prevent her from being robbed, the center’s officials, on the instructions of the public prosecutor and authorized by her family, opened a bank account for her to invest her “wealth”. When asked about her plans after leaving the community center, she replied, “I have to go get some money to buy a new house.”

digital begging

After the virtual became a parallel world with reality, it in turn was not spared from societal phenomena that abound from the daily, and we are talking here about beggar who became for his professionals on the Internet.
But the digital beggar is protected by the realms of the hypothetical to mess up his face while asking for charity, donation or other forms of fraud primarily aimed at raising money, even if it is by lying.
You can come across a girl, as it seems on her Facebook page, who posts an abstract picture, a painting or the face of an actress, and she sends you privately and after peace, greetings and respect directly to the request to pack, which is the category that is considered less harmful than those who request the purchase of medicine, payment of an electricity bill, or an operation operation or simply do charity for the sake of a family that is in the open living In fact, there is no family, only there is the intention to defraud the pioneers of those sites for a respectable amount that will inevitably be lost in fleeting pleasures, which will be spent as it came quickly and easily.
The digital beggar knows who he is referring to, as he carefully studies the victim’s “profile” before approaching him on the subject, and then proceeds to fabricate a big lie based on human suffering.
Another category that comes to you in the email and begins his message by introducing himself, explaining that he was shy before approaching you about the subject, but he is forced to because he “cuts the cord” , which means that he finds himself in financial trouble.
But there are always direct messages whose owner or owner goes directly to the goal, that is to ask for money to spend a goal of the world in which there is much reward and reward in the hereafter.
Talking about professional begging is not just passing notes taken by the citizen while wandering around, drinking his coffee or shopping, but rather confirmed by field research studies.
Among them we mention the study carried out years ago by the Moroccan League for the Protection of Childhood, which indicated beyond any doubt that the phenomenon of begging in Morocco has turned into a craft.
According to the study, the category of children is the most professional for this profession, especially those under 12 years old.
The study was carried out by the Association in collaboration with the Directorate of National Cooperation and with technical support from the Moroccan Ministry of Health, in a number of Moroccan cities, including the capital, Rabat, and its neighbor, the city of Salé, and suburbs such as Skhirat and Temara.
The study highlighted that the percentage of male beggars is more than female, accounting for 56 percent, while the percentage of female beggars does not exceed about 44 percent. What they earn, it varies approximately between 50-100 dirhams.
And dealt with the phenomenon of beggars under the age of 12 through three categories of people. The first category included children under the age of seven who begged with their companions (about 273 children). The second category included children between the ages of eight and 12 who beg unaccompanied (about 230 children), and the third category was non-beggars to know their views on the phenomenon (289 people).
For this study, the main reasons that drive them to beg are social problems arising from divorce, abandonment of parents, neglect, absence or death of parents, abuse and sexual harassment, in addition to cultural factors represented to become accustomed to begging or to to belong to. a family specializing in begging.
There is certainly no need to be prejudiced against beggars, because some of them are a group driven by poverty, and this is the one that requires people’s sympathy, but the rope is mixed with the noble and the one that earned, is lost in the midst of the crowd of frauds for a profession with easy and tireless income.

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