Gypsy Child Thieves

Gypsy Child Thieves

2009, Society  -   48 Comments
Ratings: 8.40/10 from 155 users.

For centuries gypsies lived on the margins of society and faced brutal discrimination. Many have resorted to begging and stealing to survive, but in the last twenty years organized crime has taken over and since 2007, when Romania joined the European Union, gypsy children have been trafficked and exploited on a massive scale. In Spain eight-year-olds robbing grown men at cash machines has become a common sight. In Italy a major police investigation found enslaved children locked in a shack like animals.

It's only the tip of the iceberg and it's a phenomenon that we'll have to fight against for a very long time. Liviu Tipurita grew up in Romania and he's been making films about gypsies and about child trafficking for many years. To investigate what's happening to these children he's going on a journey that would take him inside the closed world of the gypsy community, and he'll reveal the shocking tide of racism they face. These children are the victims of a culture of crime and the society that seems to have abandoned them. The question is: will anyone save them from the hands of their exploiters.

It's the week before Christmas in Madrid and for the Spanish children it's a time of great joy and anticipation, but Liviu is there because he's heard there are many gypsy children from Romania in the city working as thieves. Wandering about the center of town he sees gypsy beggars, but there's something more sinister going on there. As he heads back to his hotel he sees a girl hanging around the cash machine. She's no older than 13 and at first sight she appears to be begging but actually she's watching customers as they enter their pin and approaches them as they're about to withdraw money.

She's using a piece of paper to cover her hand as she tries to press the button for the highest sum available on the cache machine and take the money as it comes out. She's a distraction thieve, one of the gypsy children that the police say make up a third of all the under-17-year old they have to deal with in the city.

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48 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Radu

    "Romania Gypsy" ?
    What ? No they come from India, go and do your research, you will find out that Romanians are Latin people that have been invaded by those Indians
    Get your facts straight

  2. Marcella

    I totally agree with Claudia, not because I am romanian, but as she said the truth.Many people in Europe make a big confusion when is about the gypsies which come from Romania,To be very clear for everybody as it said in the documentary also , the Gypsies came in Romania 1000 years ago and settled there. Before 1989 when we used to live under communism regime, all the gypsies were obliged by low to work in agriculture, or factories and if they refuse would face the jail. After 1989, since the communism regime ended, there are no jobs even for Romanian people, and lot of good Romanians emigrated on west Europe and America, Australia, etc, trying to make a better life and a future for their children. The documentary should make a reference not only to the gypsies but to show the life Romanian people have overseas, as they are decent people and work pay for the rent, put their children on school and they are clean, don't steal from people and they are very decent.

  3. JudeLawGuardian

    My grandmother lived in an area infested with gypsies. Once they moved into the neighborhood, stuff started disappearing, things were vandalized, and on several occasions, my grandmother was actually confronted by them at her front door. They tried this thieving ruse wherein one of them tried talking to her in an attempt to distract her, while the other one physically tried to push past her to get into the house to steal. Things like this happened to her on more than one occasion. She was over 80 at the time. They have NO respect for ANYONE, regardless of age. Sorry if that sounds "insensitive", but hey----just calling a spade a spade. Not my problem if you don't like the facts.

    My mom had experiences with gypsy kids where she used to live in Santa Monica. She caught them stealing stuff in a laundry room at an apartment building, and their whole excuse was that their parents told them, "If it isn't nailed down, it's yours." Nice. Nope---all this "politically correct" BS is just that---bulls***. Sorry--they don't get a pass for being "economically depressed" or whatever crap line they want to spew. If this is their "culture", better for it to die out than try and "preserve" it.

  4. sharp eyes

    Remember... Europeans too had the same beginnings..(robbing,slavery etc:etc). & they still do-- Iraq!!!... in that case the gypsy is better.. they have no plan of one world order, eugenics so on.. after all the cooperation elites rob our whole life than the pick pocketers (now they are rich they seems to have character.) better leave the gypsies alone and lets concentrate on the big fish who wants us to adapt to their models of life...-beware of one god,one currency, one system. one world....

  5. squiggysmom1

    Their surround and attack method of stealing reminds me of lions singling out their prey. Pretty scary stuff.

  6. Dean Thompson

    Yes they come from impoverished backgrounds. Yes they are discriminated against. But teaching your children to steal...and, even worse, selling your own children? And selling underaged girls as brides? This is debased, disgusting behaviour. Their culture is terrible.Their culture needs to change.

    1. Harry Nutzack

      until WW2 ended, the japanese considered it a cultural norm for the impoverished to sell their daughters into prostitution, and their sons into indentured servitude. currently, here in the us, there is a story of an impoverished, addicted parent or 2 selling their offspring off just about weekly. both our current us culture, and that of japan are rife with examples of "family heritage of criminality", from the pettiest of theft, to "mafia" level of organization. i have little doubt these examples are reasonably universal among the marginalized, no matter what national or ethnic origin.

      my maternal grandfather was a gypsy. he came to the us from germany in the 1880s, in his pre-teen years. in germany, he was a "filthy gypsy", in america, he was "just another greenhorn". he assimilated to american culture. he americanized his name, spoke only english, "earned" his citizenship by fighting the war against spain, and worked until the day he died. he never sold his kids (12 of them, lol), he never committed any crimes of note. his offspring were patriotic, functional members of our society, who also for the most part engaged in no criminality (though an uncle did have a bookie business in the late 30s for a short period of time). the same applies to the rest of gramps' immediate family that emigrated with him.

      the marginalized can NEVER assimilate, except through "heroic" effort, and a VERY healthy dollop of good luck. they also make very "easy pickings" for those who would exploit them. that exploitation is the source of that "debased, disgusting behavior", not "their terrible culture". outcasts usually don't politely starve to death quietly, they merely survive however they can. often that survival requires actions we "civilized folk" find reprehensible, which those who exploit them encourage. that insures a "fresh crop" for the next generation of exploiters.

    2. Dean Thompson

      Good reply, very thought provoking.

      There are plenty of examples of poor people who don't resort to such behaviour to survive, though. My mother's family, had their house bombed into smithereens in WW2, left with nothing, ten children, eking out an existence in the ruins. Some got jobs, most didn't, and a few of my great uncles and aunts died of sickness and starvation. They didn't resort to crime and no family members were sold.

      But I definitely take on board your comments about how they are marginalized and discriminated against. As for exploited, it seems those exploiting the young gypsies are older gypsies.

    3. Harry Nutzack

      thanks for the reply, Dean. your example underlines my point, as your family were engaged enough, and invested enough in the society to be willing to "take the hit for the team". there was enough potential hope for improvement to inspire them to "soldier on". "we can return to our glory" as a genuine possibility is a great inspiration to suffer through REALLY bad times.

      on the exploitation by "their own", that's pretty much the formula for exploitation of ANY ethnicity. where i live in sunny south florida, we have a hugely diverse population, mostly separated into "ethnic enclaves" of a sort.
      nearly universally, the folks elected to represent those enclaves in government are obviously incredibly corrupt, but maintain their position until convicted, or buried. those corrupt pols tend to be members of the dominant ethnic group of the area. folks tend to prefer to be exploited, or stolen from, by "one of their own".

      those who come from areas where the "value of life" tends to be low (whether a nation, city, or neighborhood), tend to support the MOST corrupt, exploitive examples. it's a "serf perspective", as well as the idea that "one of my own will steal less from me" that perpetuates it.

      in japan, the exploitation of the poor is mostly done by japanese. in china, the same can be said about chinese. in the favellas of brazil, it is brazillians that "collect the spoils of suffering". american "drug lords" of all ilks tend to be the ethnicity as their customers, as do the extortionists, loan sharks, and "predatory employers". the "mafia mindset" is universal.

  7. BlueBoxBum

    I found this to be too disgusting to finish. Very upsetting.

  8. Lauri Neva

    The Hyper Rich breeds this age discrepancy and the resulting youth crime! No one seems to care either and they just accept the status quo!

  9. Candace Sturtevant

    As I understand, England gave the Jews, Israel, so they had a country of their own. The European nations must give the Gypsies a nation of their own, it would seem, as well. If Romania, or Northern India, where this film says they came from, does not want them; then it would seem fair to me that the whole of the Earth give them a place to live. If they want to continue to be nomadic, they could do it within their own borders. Having your own country; perhaps, would give them the incentive to do honest work because you cannot steal from another gypsy, who has nothing, now can you? Teach them to fish, and help them for a lifetime.

    1. max

      are you kidding me? no one has to give them anything! Kurdish people don't have their land yet they do NOT result into this sort of behavior. Jews were discriminated even more then gypsies, for god sake they were massacred every hundred years. yet they never behaved as gypsies, they pulled them self's up and always chose knowledge and hard work over criminal behavior. My argument is that while Jews persevered a much tougher situation why can't the gypsies pull them selves together? they don't deserve their own country NOR DO THEY WANT IT. they want EU, access to rich victims. if they could survive and prosper without their methods, they would already done so. perhaps thats why they were kicked out of India? P.S. that part of Romania is pretty autonomous anyways. so no excuses.

    2. Claudia

      Go read real books instead internet, you have no history knowledges at all !! No culture, nothing if you dare to say that gypsy came from Romania. It's like saying English are Indians just because there are some indians living in UK or that Americans are Chinese just because some chinese live in US !!!
      Romanians are a nation that has nothing to do with gypsies!! Gypsies came here from India and settled here just like they sattled in all Europe. Few years ago they started to leave Romania for other countries, but to say their origins are Romanian shows st*pidity and lack of culture.
      The fact gypsy people changed their name to Roma does not mea they are Romanian. You could say they come from ancient Rome because of the name? Or that they come from Romanicsh people of Switzerland because of the name? A name does not mean anything.
      As a true Romanian woman, I feel deeply sad of the injustice !

  10. Bonnie Jean Bowman-Beams

    Where is all the money going? Are the cops taking it? The center? This is shameful. These children need to be taken away. Then what will they do? I'm so disgusted.

    1. max

      did you watch the end? all the money goes to build a palace in Romania, palace where no one lives. Take away children? they did that to Aboriginal children in Canada. It destroyed aboriginal culture, many were sexually abused, large scale suicide and majority ended up as alcoholics. take it from sociologist. cases upon cases exemplified that the best way is to keep children with the parents or you will encounter a major disaster later on, not to speak of a civil law cases and millions in settlement fees. EU officials are not s(upid nor they are ignorant or too liberal.

  11. southab403

    The biggest uncomfortable thought about this whole gypsy movement are that their 'controllers' in Romania who investigate which countries are ripe for exploitation.
    They then plan, assist and send poor families into numerous different countries to harvest what they can, to send back to the 'Old Country'.
    They know exactly what they are doing and pick countries with laws which will minimize any legal interference with their gypsy folk families (extended).
    I have no idea how you could re-educate a stubborn independent community (making tons of money, by the way) to change their whole culture.
    I'd try to start with the young brides, with birth control info. number one. Less kids means less child exploitation.
    Too weird to me the drive to send the money back to Romania though! What are they promised if they deliver or threatened with if they don't?

  12. shafawn

    These people need compassion and education but the problem is 2 fold
    imo. Gypsies are also fiercely proud and independent. They do not want
    to succumb to social norms and traditions of modern society. They are a
    sort of nomadic people group without a reservation and they don't want
    your interference, judgments and criticisms of their preferred way of
    life. It's not that they don't see that it's possible to change. They
    see and it and reject it in order to keep their own sense of social
    unity and identity separate from modern society. The only possible way
    to assimilate them would be through educating their children into modern
    society over time.

    1. max

      you know how many ppl thought it was a good idea over the history of EU and Canada. well guess what? assimilation does not work, and try naming me one case where it did? natives from Canada perhaps? or the European Jews? now how wrong does that sound to make the Jews or the Aboriginals assimilate into Euro-centric culture? sounds a bit racist doesn't it? yet here we have an excuse. because they are "all" criminals there fore we "a civilized society" must civilize em. please don't rush into quick conclusions. 1 hour ago you knew nothing about this problem, but now you claim to know the solution... bravo..

  13. Imightberiding

    I certainly don't know what to say or where to begin with my disgust for a culture & society that abuses children to this degree. The teens interviewed in Spain clearly stated that they moved there with the intent to beg & steal to send money back to Romania. Their ultimate intention to someday return home.

    Most if not all immigrants are reviled at some time. The ones who work hard, are not criminals & give back to the communities in which they have moved are ultimately accepted.

    These people have no intention of settling down & giving back to the community let alone working. They admit to a culture of thievery. The town at the end of the doc back in Romania is a clear example of the greed & intentions of trafficking & abusing all those children. What a bizarre neighbourhood that was. A twisted Dr. Seuss meets David Lynch. These people are not stealing & begging to survive. This is blatant organized crime. The fat rich guy at the end is concerned they are getting too greedy. He thinks they should moderate the amount they steal or no country will have them & then where can they steal from? No thought whatsoever to changing & encouraging education for the young & working for a living.

    I have more respect for bank robbers where the money stolen is insured & the thieves are not exploiting & abusing children.

  14. Harry Nutzack

    "we're one europe" or "they're YOUR gypsys", you can't have it both ways. the vast majority of comments on this subject ALWAYS read exactly like our american racists and their views on brown skinned people. or self righteous christian fundies on "the evils of islam". when it comes to evaluating groups of people (especially ethno- or religio- types differing from our own) we humans tend to see only what we WANT to see. if you want the gypsys to be productive members of your society, include them in your society. a bite of your "dole apple" and barely hushed scorn is NOT inclusion. people who worry about mass deportation will NEVER "assimilate", people who worry about "ethnic cleansing" will NEVER trust. centuries of tribalistic exclusion has developed the "gypsy monster" you whine about. to "tame the monster" takes much more than a plate of beans, a spelling primer, and barely concealed contempt.

  15. bringmeredwine

    There's a story about Roma Gypsies and their illegal antics in Greece and Ireland, including child trafficking, on the home page of MSN Canada today.

  16. Cristian

    I grew angry while reading this article. I grew up by being obliged to travel with the gipsy kids in the same bus. I have former study mates who ended up being their teacher and I my selft worked for organizations trying to educate them. And from this perspective I am writing this iformation to you. I do not deny that what was written here might not be true. But IT FAILS TO PRESENT THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM.

    It's a story presented only from one perspective: that of the poor gipsy!

    One should go one step back and see how women get pregnant without any birth control or sexual education. then they sell their kids for amounts close to nothing. Or emigrate to pursue the disgrace in other countries. Try to educate them (gipsy kids) and they will run from school because parents need them to beg, give them social aid and they will rob you at the corner of the street! I am sick sick sick of all this reporters who are seeing only what they want to see and what they find spectacular to report in societies that have other values.

    1. mike jarvis

      Exactly of which virtues do you speak??? They have became what they are for a reason, they have NO shame. The countries affected need laws forbidding people FROM GIVING TO beggars. Allow only charities to distribute aid. Children under a certain age should not be allowed on a subway, bus or other designated public places without a parent. Fine or deport parents who wont comply. Amazing that a culture see's itself as being "entitled" to steal and beg.

    2. fk_censors

      You cannot outlaw begging, or private charity in a free society, where freedom of expression is still allowed. (You could go after them for tax evasion though, but it's tough to prove). Anyway, if countries change their laws to discourage certain behaviors, the Gypsies will find a clever way to adapt. Romania tried many approaches for over 150 years, and did not find a viable solution (save for an inconvenient coexistence, with all the hassles involved), Hitler tried an even harsher method (spoiler alert: it didn't work), so I am not sure the current bureaucrats from the EU can find a solution. I think the Gypsy at the end of this doc had the only viable formula for coexistence: if the hassles are kept to a modest level, societies will learn to tolerate the Gypsies and their lifestyle.

    3. mike jarvis

      Is tolerating harassment ,theft and forced child thievery really a solution? Go ahead and steal but just steal a little....?

    4. fk_censors

      I agree with you, that it's not a pleasant situation. But being tough on crime only works so much. You have to understand that in Gypsy culture, gadje (non-Gypsies) should be taken advantage of. So given the culture allows for that, the only solutions for our culture and theirs to coexist would be a police state with every street corner monitored, or even more sinister actions, which should not take place in a civilized society (mass expulsions or even worse). Of course the EU bureaucrats think they can come up with solutions (education or destroying Gypsy cultural identity), old and tried methods which have not had real results. But many of these EU bureaucrats think that if the government wants, it can solve any problem, costs be damned. But they have not had any experience with this culture, and they aren't too keen to seek advice from societies which have dealt with Gypsies for centuries. Remember, these guys/gals know it all already. Of course, Romania benefited from EU enlargement, since many Gypsies (especially the criminal ones) left voluntarily for greener pastures, and now it's somebody else's problem to deal with.

    5. mike jarvis

      If a police state is what is needed to protect the non gypsy public, because the "culture" of the gypsy says... "they (us) should be taken advantage of"...?!!? Wtf ! If these "people" are bred to be like this..I say build the pens and cages to keep them like the animals that they are!

    6. JudeLawGuardian

      Thank you.

    7. JudeLawGuardian

      Maybe when your "cultural identity" consists mainly of stealing, child selling, etc., then it's time to destroy that "identity" for the sake of everyone.

    8. JudeLawGuardian

      Why should any society have to learn to "tolerate" stealing and all the other crap that comes with this culture? BS.

  17. bringmeredwine

    Why aren't the authorities doing their jobs? People pay massive amounts of taxes to these government agencies.
    This kind of harassment would not be tolerated for one day in my city.

  18. Kris Kemp

    Am I supposed to feel sympathetic for these people? Why? They moved
    into a place where no one wants them, then they resort to stealing,
    robbing, and other criminal behavior, while they live in squalor. They
    should be in jail. And they deserve to live in squalor because they are
    criminals. They use the ruse that they are discriminated against but
    if they behaved like normal people, they would be treated like normal

    1. Maddestmax

      Difficult to respond to your comment without invoking Godwin's law.

    2. Epicurus

      everything you said just made my brain implode due to the ignorance.

      I guess there will always be narrow minded people like you though.

    3. JudeLawGuardian

      If "narrow-minded" = not wanting thieves to take your stuff that you worked hard to get--hey--consider me narrow-minded too.

    4. timothymochley

      They are behaving exactly like normal people would under the same circumstances.. How do you behave "normally" if you're starving? Or if you are abducted and raised in an Oliver Twist type situation? Dickens wrote what he did to fight this type of ignorance, but there's no compensating for weak minds.

    5. bringmeredwine

      Being starved and abused does not give any one the right to victimize other people.
      I love Dickens' and all he stood for, by the way.

    6. bringmeredwine

      Grant it, a child under the control of an adult cannot be held accountable for their actions.

    7. a_no_n

      sop you think starving people are going to just sit back and die rather than be a bit rude?

    8. bringmeredwine

      I admit "invading is a strong word, and I take it back. However, a half dozen people hanging out near local bank machines, harassing people and trying to grab their cash, would be an extremely intimidating experience, dontcha think?
      I never wrote "all" Roma Gypsies commit unlawful behaviour.
      I've volunteered in food banks, shelters and clothing drives. Met all kinds of wonderful worthwhile, poverty stricken folks, all over this country.
      I've been really, really hungry myself. Didn't have two cents to rub together for any food.
      I choose to dig in my pockets for my fellow citizens, people who live here legally. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to give my support to illegals.

    9. bringmeredwine

      @a_non_n Abusing children, and defrauding the government is not just acting a bit rude!

    10. JudeLawGuardian

      Well, that would be better for the rest of society if they did, so....

    11. a_no_n

      The Romans thought the same thing...Then Caesar came along and took advantage of the situation to destroy democracy...Same with the Tzars, that didn't end particularly well either, same story with the French.

    12. fk_censors

      I think you fail to distinguish between acts of desperation and a textbook case of organized crime.

    13. bringmeredwine

      I hear what you're saying, but I don't agree they "deserve to live in squalor". Horrendous living conditions will only acerbate their unlawful behaviours. Nor do I as a tax payer want to provide them with decent housing.
      I don't know what the solution is when Roma Gypsies enter a country, committing fraud, child-trafficking and theft, and the immigration authorities keep letting them in.
      I can't sit here and paint every single Roma Gypsy with the same brush. I simply don't want the dishonest ones in my city.
      The government agencies and the legal system in each country should be implementing solutions and enforcing them, whatever they are.

    14. a_no_n

      so you admit there's a problem, and that poverty is the source of it. Yet you actively don't want to put your hand in your pocket to make that problem less of an issue...Some might say that it is infact YOU and your attitude that is the problem.
      You say you can't paint them all with the same brush, but in the sentence before you say that, there you are painting them all with the same either you don't understand what "painting them all with the same brush" means,'re using that sentence as some sort of justification for doing just that...which makes even less sense.

      They aren't invading, jesus how hysterical can you get? They're just travelling about, it's a perfectly valid way of life, certainly more traditional than we live.

    15. Benfagre

      Please do come to your senses.

      Regardless of how much they steal, trash-talking such as that is what have led to countless pogroms, the most renown during WWII where HALF of all gypsies were executed.

      Meritocracy demands that all citizens are given an equal opportunity. If they take it or not, regardless of their reason, such as "lazyness", is non-relevant to the question whether they should be given equal opportunity or not.

      Meritocracy thus indirectly demands proper support provided by the government, including food and some kind of shelter assistance until adulthood (for those otherwise lacking), a free and good education and free lifelong healthcare. If we have money for police and jail, we have money for soup-kitchens and schools.

      Secondly, there is a fairly good chance a generic gypsies ancestors came to Europe before you did, so you can not argue "they moved into a place where no one wants them" - they might have been here even before you were!