Not only does ZOE combat child trafficking by rescuing children before and after they are sold into commercial and sexual exploitation, but we also combat another heinous form of trafficking and child exploitation
Did you know that begging is a widespread problem in Thailand?
Begging rings are extremely lucrative for the ringleaders. The average college graduate in Thailand earns between 10,000 and 15,000 baht a month (US$335 to $500). A professional beggar can earn between 500 and 1,000 baht per night.
However a beggar with a baby will always bring in more. A very conservative estimate is that a beggar with baby going out every other night would bring in 10,000 baht per month. A begging ring with 10 beggar-baby teams would easily “earn” 100,000 baht ($3,350) a month for the ringleader.
With minimum expenses — low rent for a 2-bedroom shack housing 20 or 30 people, rice and vegetables — the ringleaders are living like kings. And begging rings have been known to have up to 40 or more beggars going out nightly.
When the children are old enough (4 or 5), they are sent out to beg directly. They are given nightly quotas and dare not come back until they’ve met their quota. Because the collecting is better after dark in the bar areas, the children are often on the streets until 3 or 4 a.m. to meet their quotas.
Suffice it to say they do not go to school during the day. If they fail to meet their quota they are beaten or otherwise abused. In addition, one study has indicated that almost 9 out of 10 children who work in begging rings will eventually fall victim to sexual exploitation and abuse.
As for the ringleaders themselves, prosecuting them is more challenging as they are seldom caught. The leaders have so conditioned their “family” of beggars through fear, intimidation, and abuse, that the beggars, when arrested, will not reveal the location of their leaders. Prosecuting the leaders is one of the challenges facing law enforcement.