BBC News – Child victims of Pakistan’s ‘begging mafia’


For many Pakistani Muslims, visiting a shrine and donating money to beggars go hand in hand. But their generosity has encouraged the creation of a “begging mafia” which forces thousands of children into a life of slavery.

Shrines dedicated to holy men are dotted across most cities and towns in Pakistan. In the folk Islam of the region, they are regarded as saints, and can attract huge numbers of worshippers, eager to pray for their blessings.

The shrines have always been a magnet for beggars, especially children, as many of the pilgrims believe giving money to the poor will increase the chance of their prayers being heard.

The result? Children are being kidnapped and traded between begging gangs, says Mohammed Ali, founder of the Roshni Helpline charity.

“In 2010, 3,000 children went missing in Karachi alone,” says Ali.

“Many of these children will be moved around shrines in Pakistan. They will have their heads shaved. They will be tattooed. They will be made unrecognisable to their parents.

The complete article can be found at BBC News – Child victims of Pakistan’s ‘begging mafia’.

I thank God that the BBC is shining a light on this.

2 Replies to “BBC News – Child victims of Pakistan’s ‘begging mafia’”

  1. That is truly a sad situation. However, it shines a light on how things work around religious affairs and the collection of donations.

    In America there are many actions that mimic this scenario. It operates under the guise of collecting monies to locate missing children, or the children may be used in the media as a way of pushing an issue through to readers. The trial of Casey Anthony was very telling of how the American system works.

    They collected tons of monies, people capitalized off their books, they stalked and tormented the family, yet no one bothered to actually look for the corpse.

    The media made so much money off that case, the Russians utilized children to launch an anti-American campaign-even using America’s own officials to push their cause.

  2. Mike,

    I think that organized beggary is a scourge of the Pakistan society. The fact that they abduct children and exploit them in this horrendous way is an abomination. Families are torn apart, children are maimed and tortured, scarred for life. And all for what? so some sick criminal can make some extra money? We need to cleanse society of this, and it starts with exposing them, shining a light on them, like this report from the BBC.

    Zulfiqar Rashid

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