The Begging Industry
The holy month of Ramadan has just begun, the peak season of the begging industry. A huge supply of beggars flow from rural areas to urban cities of Pakistan especially to the city of lights, Karachi. The business district contributes Rupees 16 billion to the GDP/per day and has a vast population of 20 million. With different flourishing industries, evil factors in the image of mafias control many corrupt forms of businesses in Karachi. The most widespread of them all is the begging industry, which has evolved over time to take a more professional and organized form. The organizational structure is a very tall and wide one. The King Pin, of the whole industry, the mastermind and the CEO, controls the large industry and reaps the maximum profits from this business. His base is said to be abroad, where all decisions are made. Under him are provincial heads, under them city heads, then district heads and then zonal.
Having a professional hierarchy is one thing but its effective management is really important to reap benefits and establish effective growth and continuity of the industry. The heads are empowered to take operational and tactical decisions themselves, so that any way possible the daily collection quotas are achieved of zones and districts. So that effectively, proper corrective measures can be taken to meet the monthly quotas of cities and provinces. If quotas are not met the heads are removed. The process of removal is either by shoot to kill or demotion to a beggar. Loyalty is a very important aspect for effective functioning of the industry. Fraud, leaking of internal secrets and inefficiency is dealt with strongly. With consequences of death, torture or decapitating limbs.
The success of every organization lies in its employees. So recruitment is a very important factor that this industry has realized. There recruitment process gives birth to other associated industries. The selling of children, kidnapping of babies from hospital, kidnapping children from different areas, human trafficking and the illegal drug industry. As for some people money is more valuable than human life, so these industries have also flourished.
To ensure professionalism and efficiency, training is also a very important aspect to ensure a profitable enterprise. Young minds are most easily conditioned and they are backbone of this industry. They are given communication skills, not only in local languages but now also in English. To ensure impressive persuasion. They are equipped with proper clothes and makeup, for those that might lack physical appearance. Also, different variety of physical deformity is practiced on the recruits so that easy sympathy can be gained from customers, for fast and big cash. The most gruesome medical torture is practiced on these recruits on different areas of body, just to test which style gives maximum emotional and mental trauma to customers for strong persuasion. These children are drugged frequently to reduce the lifelong pain and to ensure as adults they become incapable of any other work and rely heavily on this profession.
The salary package offered to beggars is commission, food, accommodation and transport. Beggars get a percentage commission from their daily earnings and the rest is sent up the hierarchy. Food and accommodation is provided in slums that are ever increasing in Karachi. A pick and drop taxi bring the beggars to their begging spots and back to main office at checkout time.
This industry is flourish and becoming very attractive not only for mafia but also for beggars. When I talked to a local beggar Aman he said “I earn Rupees 600 to 1000 per day off season and in Ramadan the amount doubles, very easy money to earn and I can live a very comfortable life”. Such a situation is very alarming for the Pakistani Society. We all are contributing to the development of the Begging Industry, they threaten the life of our children. Till we change our habit of giving to street beggars, their industry will remain profitable and they will continue to grow and gain strength. Better alternatives is to give to NGOS that regulate their activity and ensure money is not used for destruction of the Pakistani society.