A new law passed by the Bangladeshi parliament aims to clear city streets of beggars migrating from the countryside.
Bangladeshis could face up to three months in prison if they violate the law passed this week.
It bans begging in the open and on crowded streets. The Finance Ministry says it wants to rehabilitate urban beggars by providing them with employment training programs. But the country director of the British aid agency Oxfam, M.B. Akther says imprisonment and brief training schemes will not solve the problem.
Other aid groups say the government should focus on creating jobs in rural areas to stem the migration of poor people into the cities. Officials say it will take about a month to draft guidelines on how authorities will enforce the new law.
Several-hundred-thousand Bangladeshis are believed to be living off begging. Approximately 40 percent of Bangladeshis survive on less than a dollar per day.