The debate on a ban on begging has been flared up fully after the NRK documentary ‘Lykkelandet’ (Lucky Land) showed that criminal networks control much of the begging.
Both at Government level and in Norwegian municipalities it is proposed to ban begging in the wake of NRK’s documentary ‘Lykkelandet’, where it is revealed that a criminal network in Bergen has earned millions on organized begging, prostitution, racketeering and drug sales.
NRK’s documentary shows how around 140 gypsies control the market for prostitution and begging in Bergen.
Solberg and Listhaug react strongly
– I strongly react to this. At the same time, this is not something new, and we pointed out these issues before the 2013 elections, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told NRK.
She states that the Conservatives are still in favour of a ban on begging.
– If there is a wish in the Parliament now, the Government has a proposal we can present quickly.
Sylvi Listhaug (Progress Party) also joins in the debate and attacks the Centre Party.
– Now the naivety that has affected our country for too long has to end. We, as part of the Government proposed a ban in 2015.
– At the time the Centre Party changed their opinion and said no, and thus secured the majority for the naive. Now I hope they realize the realities, and agree to ban begging once and for all, she writes on Facebook.
Both face resistance from The Socialist Party, represented by Karin Andersen, who does not want to have a ban on begging.
– Everything shown in the documentary is already illegal. We do not need a ban on begging to fight it. The Government wants once again to make poverty less visible. They should fight the criminals, not the poor.
Municipalities want a ban.
The documentary has been noticed in several Norwegian municipalities.
– The NRK documentary was the final straw. We have some Romani beggars in Os, which are transported here in groups.
Many of them have been very persistent in their begging, especially against children and the elderly. This is not how we want it to be, Mayor of Os, says Marie Bruarås (Conservatives), who wants a ban on begging.
Coming Monday, the city council in Stavanger will also review begging bans. It is Group Leader for the Progress Party in Stavanger, Christian Wedler, who has set the proposal forward, writes Stavanger Aftenblad.
Violence and harassment against beggars.
Police report that beggars in Bergen have been exposed to violence and harassment after NRK sent “Lykkelandet” on Tuesday.
– The information we received is that there have been several cases of people who have been harassed and in one case a person has been beaten and kicked, Vice Police Chief Olav Valland, told Bergens Tidende.
Valland calls for violence and harassment against beggars to end immediately.
– This is totally unacceptable behaviour, regardless of whether or not those who are exposed to this belong to an organized beggar environment or not, he says.
According to the Robin Hood house in Bergen, which helps disadvantaged, several beggars have now gone home.
– Today, at least eleven people have bought flights to Romania with practical help from the staff at Robin Hood. They say they think it’s unsafe and uncomfortable to be inBergen now, General Manager at Robin Hood House, Marcos Amano, says.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today