Buffalo Human Rights Law Review


Iveta Cherneva

First Page


Document Type



In Copyright


Beggars are a part of the street landscape of any major city. However, many of the children and elderly women begging on the streets are forced beggars: victims of trafficking in persons who are part of a beggars ring with an organizational complexity comparable to that of a medium-size business enterprise. The present work focuses on the phenomenon of trafficking in persons for the purpose of begging, arguing for its legal conceptualization under international law. Although it is occasionally mentioned in a limited number of international reports and legal documents as a form of trafficking-related exploitation, forced begging is a largely understudied topic and its conceptualization as trafficking in persons has thus far been unsystematic. The present research aims to address the gap in the literature on trafficking in persons and argue for the legal conceptualization of begging as trafficking. Furthermore, it examines the psychologically driven customer demand that fuels the illicit activity, and suggests new ways for crafting public messages in order to improve response strategies and outcomes.