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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student


Brought up as beggars

MILAN - It is 9 a.m., the beginning of the Italian workday.

On the morning metro there are men in business suits, women in heels and a child tapping her dirty pink converse to the beat of a Gypsy man playing a violin.

She looks no more than seven years old, but she knows what she must do in order to keep the man happy. She knows the plan.

To her, it is the same act again and again from sun up until she is told to stop. It goes like this:

Enter the subway car. The man begins to set up his small speaker, plugs in the violin and begins to play. She stands by his side, holding onto the handrail in the middle of the car, tapping her foot with her head swaying back and forth to the music as she smiles. This is not the first time she has heard him play, but she acts excited anyhow.

After a minute or two she begins the show. Holding a crumpled paper cup in one hand, she walks slowly from one side of the metro car to the next. She mumbles and begs hoping to have a shining euro dropped into the cup so she has something to bring back to the man. She then takes her place back at his side. They exit the metro at the next stop and continue in this way for the rest of the day.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 6.8 percent of Italy was unemployed in 2008.
In November 2008, the Italian National Institute of Statistics reported, “There are around 7.5 million Italians, or 13 percent of the population, living below the poverty line on less than 600 euros (about $900) a month.”

According to the report, about 170,000 people are considered extremely poor, living on a monthly income far below the poverty line.

One in four Italians are living below a comfortable income and those that do not have an income are forced to beg.

From dressing up and painting one’s face to look like a mime-like king and posing for hours in the Duomo square, to using children as beggars, some Gypsies are finding ways to make passersby feel sympathetic in hopes of earning a buck.

Gypsy children are being forced to beg and steal on the streets of Milan as adults stand at close watch. When did it become OK to pimp one’s children?

Missing out on the opportunity of school and a normal childhood, these children are being brought up into a world of begging and stealing which only then breeds this behavior.

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