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No sooner said than done: human rights activists conducted the first raid to prevent begging in Odessa
Volodymyr Kondur. Photo by Olena Orlova/IRC "Legal Space"
Volodymyr Kondur.

It was not a week since employees of Odessa Human Rights Roma Center decided to embody a new direction of work: to warn begging, especially among children. On July 1 they went to the first such raid around Odessa.

The pilot raid lawyers of the Center held together with the representative of the Juvenile Prevention Department in the Odessa region, the police captain Viktoria Lazarchuk and employees of the city's social services.

As the head of the Human Rights Roma Center Volodymyr Kondur explained, this was an extraordinary raid. Its participants warned of three cases of begging among Roma, during which adults used children. Unfortunately, these three Roma families were detained by the police several times.

The lawyers of the Center explained to the detainee, which responsibility for the law is borne by those who beg, and especially those forcing children to do so.

In particular, they explained the following points of law:

1. Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses. Article 184 "Failure by Parents or Substitute Persons to Care For the Children".

2. Article 150¹ of the Criminal Code of Ukraine "The use of a young child for begging". The object of the crime is a social relationship that protects the will of a young child. The crime also infringes upon the honor and dignity of the person who is used for begging. The victim of this crime is a young child - a person of a male or female gender that has not reached the age of 14 years".

At the same time, the lawyer emphasizes the importance of preventing beggars and, above all, providing legal aid to such people so that they choose a decent lifestyle instead of begging.

"An important part in fighting poverty in public places is to assist people in difficult living conditions caused by disability, age, state of health, social status, life habits and lifestyle. That is why the lawyers of our Center provided the detainees with coordinates in order to continue to assist them both in the social sphere and on legal issues", said Volodymyr Kondur.

He also notes that today it is impossible to take effective measures for combating begging in public places. Reasons are neither the police nor social services have innovative approaches in this area of work.

"This is in particular the conditions of reception offices for detainees, when there is no photocopier or paper, and sometimes even normal light. What innovations can we speak about?”

At the same time, he is convinced that not all is so bad, because there are people in the police who really have a vocation to perform their work at a high professional level even under such difficult conditions.

The project "Protection of the rights of the Roma in Odessa region" is implemented by Human Rights Roma Center in the partnership with the NGO "The Association of Roma of Izmail", and the Charitable Foundation "The Planet of Good People" with the support of Roma Program Initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation.

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