“It is a problem that has grown and is unacceptable.” The mayor of Luxembourg, Lydie Polfer (DP), acknowledges the existence of organised begging, but on Wednesday she denounced the lack of means to fight the phenomenon. "The police must note it and the justice system must sanction it.”
The city of Luxembourg has around 20 social workers who go out to meet people who beg in the streets of the capital. “But some of these people are involved in human trafficking networks and organised begging, and they refuse all help,” said the mayor.
Organised begging creates a feeling of insecurity.
The mayor said that she had asked the minister of internal security Henri Kox (déi Gréng) on Monday about this issue. Contacted by Paperjam, the police were unable to confirm the information at the time of publication.
“Organised begging creates a feeling of insecurity,” the mayor added, pointing out that some beggars can be insistent and even aggressive in some cases.
Organised begging banned
Beggars have become increasingly visible in the streets of Luxembourg City in recent months. However, a municipal regulation adopted in 2016 stipulates that “all forms of organised or gang begging are prohibited. Begging is prohibited for minors under 18 years of age, as well as for adults accompanied by minors under 18 years of age who are or are not begging.”
However, it is the responsibility of the grand ducal police to monitor the application of communal regulations. The police are preparing to expand their ranks in the context of understaffed teams, according to a trade union source.
At present, security guards continue to patrol the streets of the capital, as well as members of the organisation “A vos côtés.” “All this does not replace the police, because only the police can intervene,” the mayor insisted. She also denounced the existence of “a sanitary problem” with people spending the night at the entrances to buildings.
The Wanteraktioun organised by the ministry of family is planned from 1 December to 31 March. A total of 250 beds will be available for the accommodation of people in precarious situations who wish to sleep there.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.