It is being reported on August 12, 2015 that “State officials are taking action on two fronts to stop a group of women from using babies to panhandle throughout Manhattan, following a series of . . . reports that found they may be involved in a coordinated scheme to exploit their children.”
A group of young mothers with infants have been popping up on various street corners in Manhattan begging for money. These women and their very young children have refused offers of help from government agencies because they simply prefer cash. It is believed that the women are not homeless and are using the babies to elicit sympathy from commuters to receive tax free donations. They have been accused of neglecting their children who have to sit for hours in the freezing cold or oppressive heat on the dirty city sidewalks.
“The I-Team first exposed the women working together last November — commuting in groups with their young children, then splitting up to work long shifts on separate corners. Sometimes they were seen taking lunch breaks together.” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that he was going to do something about this exploitation of the children last November. However, exactly how to handle this begging-with-baby scam has not been easy.
The police have so far been unable to act since it is currently not illegal to panhandle with a child. Another problem is reporting the incidents to child welfare agencies because the women move from place to place making it impossible for state agencies to act on reports concerning the safety of the children. State Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein, a Democrat, has drafted a bill which will move laws banning mothers panhandling on the streets with children to a penal code which will finally allow police to make some arrests and ensure that children are safe from this type of exploitation. Klein’s bill would give this organized group of panhandling mothers felony charges.