The topic came to light in the public eye with the award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. Trafficking for begging is a business model: kids are kidnapped and blinded in order to cause more pity with the passers-by. Begging ring handlers use them to generate revenues.
Previously, I wrote on the issue in the book Trafficking for begging: old game, new name advocating for not giving money to beggars on the street in order to discourage the trafficking business. In a recent interview for the Daily Muse, however, I was pressed with the question if one should ever give money to beggars on the street -- perhaps we could envision many cases when money indeed would help the beggar.
The answer is no.
Opt for offering food if willing to help beggars. Giving food is always the better option. In the case of trafficking, the money doesn't go to the beggar anyways. Of course, not all beggars on the street are trafficking victims, so by opting for food you can be sure you are helping someone -- irrespectively if they are a trafficking victim or not -- without funding a criminal activity.
I would be interested in hearing your views.
Further reading on the problem: