The film, which mapped out beggars in Norway showed, among other things, women involved in begging at daytime, and prostitution and bank card theft at night, resulting in 100 million NOK ($12mln) being sent from Norway to Romania, stirring a significant debate in the Nordic country.
In the aftermath of the film, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that Norwegians should think twice before giving money to beggars, highlighting the dangers of indirectly sponsoring organized crime.
"Perhaps people should think about whether they are supporting organized crime or an individual person in a difficult situation," Erna Solberg told NRK.
"Several people said today that they have been yelled at, told to go home or subjected to other aggressive behavior. One said he was kicked and hit today when he was collecting bottles. Another said that someone tried to kick him last night and that he was called a ‘dog' when he was sitting in the street," Marcos Amano said.
"In the Nordic countries, it is not forbidden to beg, which makes them a desired destination. At the same time, we are a people who generally have a lot of money and are known for a strong desire to help out people in trouble. So the threshold for giving alms is probably much lower in the Nordic countries than in other European countries," Rudolf Christoffersen told NRK, venturing that Nordics' naivety is often abused. "Human traffickers and criminals know our desire to do something good and therefore they play on those feelings," he said.
Begging was illegal in Norway until 2005, when a ban on the activity was lifted. Erna Solberg's ruling Conservative Party supports reintroducing the ban, provided it gets parliamentary support. After the film, which was aired earlier this week, few beggars were seen on Norwegian street
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