Elected representatives from the political group MR (the Reformist Movement) want to increase regulations for beggars in the centre of Brussels. The motion was proposed on Monday as part of their reforms to improve the centre economically and socially.
The motion sets out to tackle beggars who are aggressive, gangs, and child begging. Such regulations are already in place in Liège, Charleroi, Namur, Tournai and Etterbeek. Politicians for the Brussels area now want to follow suit.
Though begging is no longer an offence since 1993, local mafia have been known to exploit or traffic beggars, children in particular. In light of this, MR politicians are calling for controls to be tightened.
- Police bust gang who trafficked in children and forced them to beg
- Number of homeless people on the increase in Belgium’s big cities
Most large cities in Wallonia and Flanders have already stepped up controls on begging. “It is the case in all major cities, except Brussels,” David Weytsman (MR) clarified.
The political party wants to introduce similar regulations to those already in place in Etterbeek – where most of the large EU institutions are located. The goal is to limit the number of beggars in commercial neighbourhoods and other defined areas; this will give police greater powers to control the problem.
In Namur, begging is prohibited on terraces, close to schools, ATMs, banks, and at weekly markets. They also aim to put an end to begging with aggressive animals or that is threatening, as well as those who block passers-by or who beg in the road or bike path.