"If they are checked again, they risk expulsion from our country," a local official said.
How would you like a free one-way ticket to Europe? One city in Switzerland is offering exactly that – but only for beggars.
In a recent news report, we learn that Basel, Switzerland has been giving beggars the opportunity to travel anywhere in Europe. The catch? They are expected not to return to the city or country again.
Apparently, beggars are obligated to sign a contract to avail of the free voucher and CHF 20. The said document tells them not to return to Switzerland for a period of time.
In a media interview, Toprak Yergu, spokesperson of Basel’s Department of Justice, explained:
“Beneficiaries must undertake in writing not to return to Switzerland – at least for a certain period of time. If they are checked again, they risk expulsion from our country.”
As of this writing, 31 people reportedly have signed up for the offer which included 14 from Romania, 7 from Belgium, 7 from Germany, 2 from Italy and 1 from France.
The voluntary Rail Check offer allows beggars to travel to any country in Europe that can be reached by train or plane.
Roger Berberat, a travel agent based in Basel, has confirmed that he has made several travel reservations for Romanian passengers.
Although Switzerland is a rich country, homelessness remains a serious social issue. The country has also been criticized by observers for its harsh treatment of beggars.
Case in point, a 2014 report tells us that Geneva authorities fined a female beggar more than $860 and then detained her for failure to pay the fee.
Eventually, the European Court of Human Rights said that the Romanian woman had “the right, which is inherent in human dignity, to express her distress and try to meet her needs by begging” and ordered the city to pay the woman $1,500 in moral damages.
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