Women begging in the capital city Aden, May 24, 2023 (South24 Center)

The Beggary Phenomenon in Aden: Risks and Solutions


Wed, 31-05-2023 11:20 AM, Aden Time

Despite the negative repercussions related to the escalating beggary phenomenon on different levels, no real solutions have been put in so far to counter it.

Raad Alrimi (South24)

Over the past years, the beggary phenomenon in the capital city Aden, has unprecedentedly increased after the flow of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from war zones and migrants from the Horn of Africa. Tens of beggars, mostly women, and children, spread daily in roundabouts across Aden's different districts. 

Despite the negative repercussions of the escalating beggary phenomenon on different levels, no real solutions have been put in so far to counter it. This comes amid information about an organized network that exploits children and women for beggary activities. Residents believe that the beggary phenomenon has negative consequences on Aden's visitors in addition to its social and economic impact.

With the ongoing flow of IDPs, refugees, and immigrants, the number of beggars in Aden has increased. Moreover, the dire economic and living conditions in the country, in general, have exacerbated this phenomenon. However, the organized and commercial beggary activities constitute an important part of this phenomenon as a whole. This puts more moral, security, and economic responsibilities on the shoulders of the authorities.

African children begging in Aden, May 23, 2023 (South24 Center)


For Mohammed Sahim [11 years], begging is his job and the breadwinner of his mother and grandparent in Hodeidah governorate in North Yemen. He told "South24 Center": "After the death of my father, I moved to Aden at the age of 7. One neighbor took me here to beg others for money".

He added: "I deliver half of the money to a neighbor who sends it to my mother and grandparent. I gave the other half to my neighbor who moved me to Aden in return for caring for me and providing me with housing and food". Mohammed was not the only child in a roundabout in Khormaksar in Aden that day.

Some girls and women sit at the roadside waiting for bus and taxi passengers begging them for some money. Furthermore, many children spread out at the doors of restaurants and shops to collect food remains and beg passers-by for money.

Women and children begging in Aden, May 23, 2023 (South24 Center)

In previous press statements, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr. Mohammed Al-Zaouri said: "The Beggary Phenomenon is exploited by certain parties and organized gangs who may benefit from the fragile situation in the country. They manipulate these innocent children to extract money from the streets".


Sociology expert and associate professor at the University of Aden Dr. Amal Rajeh stresses on the social and security hazards of the begging phenomenon in Aden. She told "South24 Center": "The begging phenomenon in Aden has largely exacerbated. Beggars commit negative behavior. They are vulnerable to exploitation".

"We see dozens of beggars in roundabouts and in front of places of worship, restaurants, and bus stations," she added.

The expert warned that "beggars may be manipulated by gangs and criminals as tools for theft, extortion, molestation, selling drugs and other crimes". She underscored "the need to protect displaced children from beggary and find treatments to counter and reduce this phenomenon".

The expert believes that "the ongoing armed conflict that erupted 8 years ago led to the exacerbation of the beggary phenomenon" adding that "the conflict pushed many people to beg in the streets. A large percentage of families suffer from low or no income as a result of not receiving their salaries as well as the immense hike in food prices".

The role of authorities

According to Dr. Mohammed Hamoud, Director General of the Office of Social Affairs and Labor in Aden, local authorities allocated two centers to host beggars and supply them with their needs as part of an anti-beggary plan. He told "South24 Center" that "many beggars prefer to stay in the streets to get money".

"There are no recent statistics about the number of beggars due to the difficulties to control this sector and their non-commitment to go to the places designated for them by us, such as shelters and care centers", he added. The local official noted that most beggars are from "those who fled the war in North Yemen and the areas under the Houthi militias control".
Two female children begging in Aden, May 23, 2023 (South24 Center)

According to him, "most beggars are displaced persons. Most displaced persons in Aden are from the governorates of Hodeidah, Taiz, Dhamar, Hajjah, and others" adding that "beggary is illegal by law. We previously, as competent authorities, used to refer beggars to prosecutions who investigated them and sent them to accommodation centers. However, this role no longer exists completely".

The local official attributed this to "the immense and ongoing exacerbation of the problem in light of the weak and limited capability".

In a memorandum, seen by "South24 Center", social committees in Aden addressed the capital's authorities to put drastic solutions to get rid of the begging phenomenon. The committees stressed that the spread of beggars stirs fears among residents. They asked Governor Ahmed Lamlas to implement measures that would prevent the exacerbation of this phenomenon and reduce it.

Countering beggary 

Amal stressed that the beggary phenomenon "will remain an intractable problem if the community and institutional efforts don't cooperate to prevent its dangers and produce practical solutions to reduce it".

She believes that "the beginning of the solution should happen through security and legal vigilance as well as punishing and imprisoning gangs trafficking in children. Then, efforts should be done to confront the economic reasons of the phenomenon, combat poverty, improve people's living conditions, and reconsider the system of salaries that has pushed many families towards beggary.
African boys begging in Aden, May 23, 2023 (South24 Center)

The expert called for "the participation of the private sector in developing and launching several development projects to help youth and women earn money that keeps them away from begging".

Dr. Hamoud agrees on the need to duplicate the security role to arrest beggars adding that "the security bodies should be involved in the countering-beggary operation. They should arrest beggars and send them to accommodation centers designated for them by us".

Raad Alrimi

Journalist at South24 Center for News and Studies

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