Many beggars in Sweden come from eastern European countries such as Romania. Photo: Scanpix

Moderate politician calls for ban on begging

A member of Parliament for the ruling conservative Moderate Party wants a law allowing local councils to ban begging. Ulf Berg says to Swedish Television News that this is not a proposal from the whole party, but that there is an internal discussion on changing the law.

The Moderates took 30 percent of the vote at the last election and have a leading role in the governing centre-right coalition government.

However, Caroline Szyber, the justice spokeswoman for the Christian Democrats, a small party also in the government alliance, disagrees with Ulf Berg. She says that repression will not help the vulnerable people involved, who need support.

Ulf Berg says he wants to target the organised groups that are often reported to lie behind street begging. But Maria Ahlin, head of the people trafficking action group Freethem, says that this kind of law would amount to punishing the victims. "We have to be on the side of the weak," she says to Swedish Television News.

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