One in four apprehended beggars rearrested

Jordan

Published: 2024-04-17 20:17

Last Updated: 2024-05-25 12:01


Beggar
Beggar

According to data from the Ministry of Social Development, one in every four beggars in Jordan are rearrested for the same offense, with 1,898 individuals apprehended during the first quarter of 2024, including 459 beggars who resorted to begging from passersby and drivers after being apprehended multiple times.

Instances of roadside begging involving minors under the age of eighteen outnumber adults tenfold (419 incidents versus 40 adults), as per data obtained by Roya News.

The ministry highlights a decline in begging offenses during the first quarter compared to 2023 due to the enforcement of stricter penalties under the amended Social Development Law of 2024. Last year, 7,809 beggars were apprehended.

The amended Penal Code of 2022 increased the penalty for begging from three months to one year and for repeat offenders from six months to one year. The maximum penalty for "exploiting" individuals for begging purposes was raised to two years, with discretionary mitigating circumstances excluded.

Article 389 of the Penal Code defines begging as "soliciting alms feigning injury or disability or by any other means, whether wandering or sitting in a public place." This article also applies to "anyone who directs a minor under sixteen years of age to beg or collect alms or encourages them to do so."

Minister of Social Development Wafa'a Bani Mustafa alerts to a shift in beggars' motives from necessity to profession, noting that "apprehended beggars do not suffer from poverty or destitution."

Under the recent amendment, the penalty for begging is increased to a maximum of one year instead of three months, while the penalty for exploitation is raised to two years. Repeat offenders face a minimum of six months in prison, with discretionary mitigating circumstances not permitted.

According to the ministry, legal proceedings follow two paths for adults or minors. Adult beggars are handed over to the Public Security Directorate (PSD) and then to the judiciary, while minors are referred to care centers for rehabilitation under the Minors Law.

*Stay informed with our carefully curated content delivered directly to your inbox. Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive updates and in-depth analysis. Click here to subscribe.