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lindagray

​​​​​​​Begging

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Begging (also panhandling or mendicancy) is the practice of imploring others to grant a favor, often a gift of money, with little or no expectation of reciprocation. A person doing such is called a beggar, panhandler, or mendicant. Street beggars may be found in public places such as transport routes, urban parks, and near busy markets. Besides money, they may also ask for food, drink, cigarettes or other small items.

Internet begging is the modern practice of asking people to give money to others over the internet, rather than in person. Internet begging is usually targeted at people who are acquainted with the beggar, but it may be advertised to strangers. Internet begging encompasses requests for help meeting basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter, as well as requests for people to pay for vacations, school trips, and other things that the beggar wants but can't comfortably afford.

Legal restrictions
Begging has been restricted or prohibited at various times and for various reasons, typically revolving around a desire to preserve public order or to induce people to work rather than to beg for economic or moral reasons. Various European poor laws prohibited or regulated begging from the Renaissance to modern times, with varying levels of effectiveness and enforcement. Similar laws were adopted by many developing countries such as India.

"Aggressive panhandling" has been specifically prohibited by law in various jurisdictions in the United States and Canada, typically defined as persistent or intimidating begging.

Australia
Each State and Territory has individual laws regarding begging and panhandling.

In South Australia, begging for alms is illegal, and may bring a maximum penalty of $250. This legislation is outlined in the Summary Offences Act 1953 - Section 12 

Canada
The province of Ontario introduced its Safe Streets Act in 1999 to restrict specific kinds of begging, particularly certain narrowly defined cases of "aggressive" or abusive begging. In 2001 this law survived a court challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The law was further upheld by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in January 2007.

One response to the anti-panhandling laws which were passed was the creation of the Ottawa Panhandlers Union which fights for the political rights of panhandlers. The union is a shop of the Industrial Workers of the World.

British Columbia enacted its own Safe Streets Act in 2004 which resembles the Ontario law. There are also critics in that province who oppose such laws.

England & Wales
Begging is illegal under the Vagrancy Act of 1824. However it does not carry a jail sentence and is not well enforced in many cities, although since the Act applies in all public places it is enforced more frequently on public transport.

United States
In parts of San Francisco, California, aggressive panhandling is prohibited.

In May 2010, police in the city of Boston started cracking down on panhandling in the streets in downtown, and were conducting an educational outreach to residents advising them not to give to panhandlers. The Boston police distinguished active solicitation, or aggressive panhandling, versus passive panhandling of which an example is opening doors at a store with a cup in hand but saying nothing.

U. S. Courts have repeatedly ruled that begging is protected by the First Amendment's free speech provisions. On August 14, 2013, the U. S. Court of Appeals struck down a Grand Rapids, Michigan anti-begging law on free speech grounds. An Arcata, California law banning panhandling within twenty feet of stores was struck down on similar grounds in 2012.

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