TEHRAN — A councilwoman in Tehran, Fatemeh Daneshvar, said that a growing number of male beggars are dressing like females in the Iranian capital, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported last week.
"Some of these beggars are Pakistani and some are dressed as girls, and of course the feminine beggars have increased," Daneshvar said, according to the agency.
It was unclear from the statement if the beggars wore veils in a bid to look like girls or if they acted effeminately, an effort that would probably help them win the sympathy of passersby.
Panhandling is a growing issue in Iran. Officials said they recently detained hundreds of people begging on the streets of Tehran. While many were from Pakistan as Daneshvar mentioned, the Arman-e Emrooznewspaper reported that some are from India and Myanmar.
IRNA cited a judicial official in Tehran saying that beggars earned up to 5,000 euros a month, a sum that other officials say is incorrect. "Right now, we've cleared away more than a thousand of these people," the source said, adding that Iranians should stop giving money to beggars.