Britain’s Child Beggars

Meet Alice. She is a four-year-old child out on London’s Oxford street begging hours on end, day in, day out. Alice is just one of Britain’s Gypsy child beggars, and she can earn hundreds of pounds a day.

For months, BBC Panorama filmed them as they worked the streets during last winter’s snow, sleet and rain. The footage, more than 100 hours of it – is like watching Oliver Twist for the 21st Century.

Alice, wearing a white headscarf, used a telephone box as a toilet and scavenged for food from McDonald’s as she begged in all weathers. A restaurant owner in the area said that some child beggars make £500 a day. For her part, Alice hands every last penny to a minder.

This investigation uncovers the truth about these children. Reporter John Sweeney tracks down the begging gangs to luxury homes in Romania, where he confronts the adults forcing the children to beg.

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  • pwndecaf

    What a pitiful legacy.

  • Kraion

    I think its pretty damn funny that “racism” even comes into the picture. I mean if group B has a 80% delinquency rate and A 30% then it is not racist to say group B is much more likely to commit a crime. Because of this there should be higher immigration standards on gypsies since it is pointless for them to be in a western country if they cant work there.

  • boc

    its refreshing to see a real documentary. there is so many shit ones about conspiracies and ufo’s but this was a delight

  • terribly sad….

  • bringmeredwine

    Another excellent doc by the BBC.
    However, nothing was resolved by immigration, police or child services.
    Poor John Sweeney did what he could to help these children and to draw attention to their plight.
    Absolutely appalling how this exploitation is allowed to continue, and hard working British tax payers are being robbed.
    I am so mad that I’m going to take a walk to cool off!

  • alice

    my work experience with this situation would tell me that its not huge Romanian gypsy gangs but individual families usually who dont have extra money. Give Romany Gypsy group a bad press. Persecution worldwide of this ethnic group has led to this. Children are being exploited – but this documentary does its best to highlight a small minority and make it the majority.