Roma 101: Five questions answered about Europe's vilified minority

Recent cases of alleged child abduction in Greece and Ireland have brought new attention to stereotypes about the Roma, as well as their ability to integrate into society.

Why do Roma have such a bad reputation?

Poverty is their biggest challenge, a legacy of centuries of discrimination and persecution, even slavery and extermination. One in 3 Roma is jobless; 90 percent live below the poverty line, says an EU study. The Roma often live on the fringes of cities in squalid camps, or homeless on the streets, with little access to health care or education. They are often seen begging, and have been criticized by some nongovernmental organizations for not making education a priority and for marrying off young girls. Opinion polls show Europeans widely distrust Roma, who are blamed for crimes ranging from petty theft to child trafficking.

4 of 5
of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.