A Documentary About Begging

Begging for Life

Al Jazeera (2015)

Film Review

Begging for Life is an Al Jazeera documentary contrasting begging in Manila (Philippines) and Malmo (Sweden).

The segment on Manila, where begging is illegal but tolerated, the beggars are children. Many are parentless and homeless. Except during global conferences, such as APEC, when police arrest them and lock them up.

The Swedish beggars profiled are Roma* migrants unable to find work in Eastern Europe. Many of the women are single mothers who send the money they earn begging home to family members caring for their children.

Although begging is technically legal in Sweden, the Roma migrants face ruthless harassment by local authorities.


*Roma refers to people of Romani ethnicity. English-speaking people commonly refer to them by the ethnic slur “gypsy.”