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Social Development Ministry launches anti-vagrancy campaign

By Maram Kayed - Oct 20,2020 - Last updated at Oct 20,2020

AMMAN — Due to the “remarkable increase in organised vagrancy”, the Social Development Ministry on Monday launched a campaign to reduce this “scourge”, according to minister Ayman Mufleh.

The campaign is launched in cooperation with the Public Security Directorate (PSD) and the Greater Amman Municipality, Mufleh added.

The minister said in a tweet that organised vagrancy, which has “intensified, especially near traffic lights” has become “a source of inconvenience and concern for citizens”.

Social media users welcomed the campaign.

“There is a group of beggars who work on the traffic signal leading to my office, and I know they belong to an organised group because the same few beggars take shifts. One time, one of them kept knocking aggressively on my window and I felt so unsafe”, said Sara Hamdan, a bank teller, in a response to the minister’s tweets.

“That traffic light has become such an inconvenience coming to and from work. I truly worry about having to stop at it on a daily basis,” she added.

Mufleh noted in his tweet that he “hope that the law enforcement agencies apply severe penalties to deter the perpetrators of these kinds of organised acts”. 

Director of the Anti-Vagrancy Department at the Ministry of Social Development Maher Kloub said in a statement that “citizens encourage beggars at traffic lights to continue begging by giving them money,” calling on citizens to refrain from giving them money no matter how persistent the beggars are.

Kloub noted that the department has seen “a clear decrease in the number of beggars near traffic lights since the start of an intensified security campaign by the Public Security Directorate on repeat offenders and racketeers”.

He said that the campaign launched by the ministry to crack down on organised begging as well as the security campaign by the PSD will “lead to a decrease in the number of organised begging groups.”

Muhsen Shobaki, a political science professor, said in reply to Mufleh’s tweet that “most of those who run organised begging groups are themselves repeat offenders, so naturally, the two campaigns complement each other.”

Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni said in a statement on Sunday that the government has “sufficient legal ground to deter people who impose royalties and intimidate citizens”.

Talhouni added that a committee of specialists has been formed to review the Penal Code and decide whether there is a need to intensify some of the laws so that “everyone is reassured that these codes have addressed all types of criminal acts”.

“Jordan is a state of law and the rule of law is the most important thing in it. Citizens and the government alike would like to see the law applied severely to those who violate it,” the minister said.

Amani Raed, a teacher and mother, said in reply to the minister’s tweet that this campaign “targets the symptoms and not the cause of the problem”.

“Many of the people sucked into these organised crime groups had no choice and continue to have no choice. Moreover, they are usually the ones to get caught and not the ones who control or recruit them,” Raed added.

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