Film by Barnaby Phillips
People and Power investigates the growing global phenomenon of organised begging.
Begging has been a feature of life for as long as there have been poor people with nothing, and more affluent people with money to give to them.
It is certainly a common sight on the streets of towns and cities around the world today.
Its practitioners – often ignored, sometimes despised and abused, occasionally helped – are frequently the target of official disapproval or legal restriction of some kind, and are moved on, out of view, out of mind.
Yet they will always return, hoping and trusting in the charity of strangers. So what lies behind this phenomenon in the globalised 21st century, supposedly richer than all the centuries that preceded it but apparently no better at dividing wealth equitably between the haves and the have-nots?
For most who do it, begging must surely be a matter of dire necessity rather than an occupation that a person would readily turn to – though, yes, for a few, it may also be a matter of choice.
But how do different cultures respond to their presence and their appeals for help? We sent Al Jazeera correspondent Barnaby Phillips and producer Karim Shah in search of answers.
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