Foreigners among those arrested

Authorities crackdown on panhandling, arrest 975 offenders

BAGHDAD, November 23 — Iraq’s Ministry of Interior has arrested 975 beggars since the beginning of 2023 , including foreigners who reportedly entered the country during religious pilgrimages.

Maj. Hussein Al-Tamimi, Director of Organized Crime Operations at the Ministry, spoke in an interview with the official state newspaper, Al-Sabah, noting that begging has become a significant threat to security.

Authorities say the phenomenon is linked to numerous crimes, including human trafficking and drug-related offenses, carried out and organized by gangs.

Al-Tamimi highlighted the urgency of the matter, stating that a major campaign was launched at the beginning of the year, involving all sectors and covering all governorates to tackle street begging.

He noted that various groups, including infants, children, teenagers, women, the elderly, and people with disabilities, are involved in begging operations, emphasizing coordination with relevant authorities, such as the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, to take necessary measures to curb the phenomenon.