India Scrambling To Hide Beggars Ahead Of Ivanka Trump’s Visit To Avoid ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ Image

India is working hard in preparation for Ivanka Trump’s visit later this month when she attends a summit for women entrepreneurs. A large part of India’s efforts in making everything as pristine as possible is hiding an eye sore when the first daughter arrives. Beggars are a problem, and the city of Hyderabad is getting a grip on the situation by rounding up beggars and locking them up.

ABC News reports that part of it boils down to city officials not wanting Ivanka to see the “Slum Dog Millionaire stereotype that Americans often associate with India.” She’s been invited to extend her stay to take part in some sightseeing, so there’s plenty of motivation behind the sudden “cleanup.”

Trump will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad at the end of November. Hyderbabad has a population of 9 million people, so police have their hands full on “cleaning up” the streets from beggars.

Indian officials deem begging a dangerous situation for traffic, and the public in general. Police have so far removed 400 beggars and placed them in a rehabilitation facility at Chanchalguda Jail in the city. Prior to the summit getting under way, Hyderabad officials hope to move 6,000 beggars from the city and put them rehabilitation facilities and homeless shelters.

Begging is a crime in India, but clamping down on it is rarely enforced. In this instance, the ban on begging will reportedly be enforced for just two months. Local residents are all for the clearing of beggars, and one resident even asked Ivanka on Twitter to stay longer so the streets would remain clean.

It’s actually doing the beggars a favor if you hear what V.K. Singh, the director general of prisons in Hyderabad, has to say. He tells CNN that there’s a “mafia or a network behind this who force people to beg or kidnap some children and force them into begging.”

For those who are disabled or homeless, it can be a dangerous life that leaves them vulnerable to cartels forcing them to beg. A. Narasimha, a senior police officer in the prisons department, tells the news source that beggars are being moved into facilities that have “security, medical, food — and all the basic amenities are being made to take care of the inmates.”

Additionally, Singh insists that the beggars aren’t actually inside prisons, but in structures that are located inside the same compounds. One is even called Anand Ashram, which translates to “Hermitage of Happiness.”

Police will try to alert families of beggars before moving them into rehabilitation units. Singh says the effort to keep beggars off the streets will be ongoing even after Ivanka Trump’s visit to India.

[Featured Image by Paul Morigi/Getty Images]