Its entirely up to you if you want to give your money to these people. Who knows the real reason or their circumstances of why they are there.
I did give a small amount of shrap that I didnt want to keep.
When visiting Bangkok it is ver likely you will come across street begging elephants. These animals are brought to the city by their mahouts in order to get money from tourists and local. They will try to sell you bananas at an inflated price or ask for money for you to have your picture taken or to watch a trick.
The elephants suffer terribly in the city. More details on the many problems they can suffer can be found Here
Although they look exotic or sweet and cute in the case of babies please do not feed them or give the mahouts money. It just encourages the practice and leads to more suffering and premature deaths.
If you do want to go and see elephants email EleAid at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you some great elephant friendly alternatives throughout Thailand.
I came across a couple of such people, and had trustworthy Thai natives explain this to me. This is especially common in Baiyoke Market (or Baiyoke Wholesale Market). Armless or legless men (deliberately had their limbs chopped off since birth to beg) slither beneath racks of clothing with the intention of tripping unsuspecting foreigners or well dressed people, or rich looking shoppers. Once you trip over them or accidentally step on them, the beggar will yell aloud that you hurt him even if you didn't! But as long as you made contact, he'd do it. At this point all his friends in a mob will jump out of nowhere and come after you with knives and harmful weapons and will demand that you pay a heavy compensation or beat the living daylights out of you (and take your money).
Be very wary, always watch your step. This happens in Bangkok, and in dirtier shabbier roadside street markets. Rarely happens in larger cleaner fenced up markets like the JJ (Chatuchat) Market. And seldom happens outside of Bangkok.
I'm not being cruel. But 80% (or more) of beggars you see in Bangkok are from neighborin country of Thailand. Some were sold by their families some agreed to be sold to become beggar in Bangkok. Because it means $2000 (yes, US dollars) they can make each month. (per head)
I know they look so sad and you feel sorry for them. So do we but giving them money is making the 'agent' rich and richer. This money never go to their family more than a few thousands Baht a month some never got any money at all. The "Agent" keeps it.
Everyday they go to change those coins at 7-eleven and the cashier told the reporter that this woman came to change coins to notes 4-5 times a day everyday.
Thais usually give little money to beggars (1-5 baht) but some tourists cry when they see those beggars and finally give them 100 baht note. This kills them afterward.
If you really wanna give. Give them food or clothes or anything else not the money.
You don't wanna hear that some kids were kidnapped and being cut off legs or arms so they look more 'sorry' which means it will make you weep more and they'll get more money.
Anyway there're also other type of beggars some that we all "Vaniphok" those they sing or play music to earn their liviing. This is different case.
How to define which are just 'beg for real' or 'being forced to beg' ?
Some deformed ones they come to drop them somewhere in the morning and pick them up later in the evening.
Mother and a baby. Some are real mother and child(but also work for agent) but some of them they rent that poor baby from someone else. Most of this "mother and a baby" type .. is just WRONG. Don't give any money..please
Don't fall for this. Safe them by not giving money. Spread the words, Thanks
The begging situation in Bangkok is not nearly as bad as it is in certain other countries. With the abundance of food in Thailand I don't think there are many that genuinely go hungry and the Buddhist system does a good job of taking care of most people in society.
The people on the streets that are looking for money are generally not pushy and try to do something to earn your donation.
Beggars are everywhere including child beggars. Ask yourself before handing over money to a child *why* this child is on the street from dawn til dusk day after day. Chances are they are being forced to by their parents or others, and any money they make is certainly not helping the child.
You will also see people carrying around animals of various kinds (snakes, lizards, monkeys etc.) charging so you can have your picture with them. Just take a look at the drugged up state of the animal and contemplate it's miserable existence before you hand over the cash. The same goes for people selling you bananas so you can feed to their elephant. That elephants life is probably one living hell of beatings, being chained up all day and made to stand out until the early morning in busy traffic so ignorant tourists can feed it.
Think about this before you give any money to these people.