Last Updated on August 20, 2019
The British city of Brighton and Hove has been beset by roving gangs of beggars controlled by violent street gangs involved in human trafficking.
In just the latest example of the wave of street crime sweeping across the United Kingdom, the head of the Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) has spoken out about a new epidemic of “begging gangs” that target passerby in the city of Brighton and Hove.
BHT boss Andy Winter says people of all ages are being rounded up by trafficking gangs and forced to go out and ask for money under the threat of violence.
As The Argus reports:
Traders told The Argus groups are being dropped off at different points in the city at certain times in the morning.
Charity boss Mr Winter has been working with the city’s homeless and rough sleeping communities since 1987.
He said his views on begging gangs are formed based on anecdotal evidence from his BHT colleagues.
He said: “Begging has very little to do with rough sleeping and more to do with addictions.
“Some of the people arriving in Brighton to beg are being preyed upon by more powerful individuals who are controlling them because of their vulnerabilities or drug addiction and are expected to raise money for their controllers.
“It can be a form of modern day slavery that people are expected to beg, shoplift and, on occasions, prostitute themselves for the financial gains of others.”
Mr Winter adds that gangs often employ violence or threats of violence to keep people in servitude.
The spike in street crime in the U.K. since the early 2000s has been jarring and precipitous, with the London crime rate overtaking that of New York City in 2018. Despite the assurances of London mayor Sadiq Khan that violent attacks and acts of terrorism are just “part and parcel” of living in a large city, there is a major panic about the crime in the U.K.
After falling for a decade, knife crime is on the rise in Britain. There were 285 knife homicides in England and Wales from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the highest number since comparable records began in 1946.
The number of people admitted to hospitals with blade injuries rose 8 percent from the year before.
Knives are the most common weapon used in slayings in the U.K., where guns are tightly restricted. About 40 percent of murder victims were stabbed to death last year, while only 4 percent were shot.
The latest reports about begging gangs operating in prestigious neighborhoods like Brighton throws a new wrinkle into the situation, as British police appear wholly unequipped to tackle the challenges thrown at them when it comes to keeping the people who pay their salaries safe.