The municipality of Sala is the first in Sweden to prohibit public begging.
The reason is that begging usually has criminal connections. During spring, it’s become more common with street musicians in Sala, something that may be connected to trafficking in humans.
Says Per Olov Rapp, Chairman of the municipal Executive Board in Sala: “At discussions with police, we’ve been talking about the systematic criminality that sometimes takes the expression of street musicians. It may at times have to do with human trafficking.”
He adds that it is a growing problem. Local politicians of all colors are in agreement with the prohibition.
“Sometimes the street musicians perform alone, sometimes there are two of them,” continues Rapp. “A bit further away, you can spot a couple of people watching them.”
What defines begging is up to the police to decide. If there’s suspicion that there’s crime involved, if for instance there’s a gang involved, then the police may interfere according to the new rule.
According to Rapp, in Sala it is street musicians who are responsible for most of the begging. But there are also beggars working alone, something that Rapp says has not yet been discussed. The punishment for begging in Sala will be fines.