Slavery in Senegal
In Senegal, many families follow traditional religious beliefs and practices by sending their children for training and education by religious leaders (marabouts) at Quranic schools (daaras). Unfortunately, rapid urbanization and poverty have created opportunities for unscrupulous traffickers to recruit children and put them on the street as beggars under the guise of religious training. Some religious students (talibés) and other children, including some as young as 5, are sent into urban and peri-urban areas to beg for food, money and other necessities.
While on the streets begging – or after running away, which is not uncommon – talibés face physical and sexual abuse, exposure to illegal substances, and vulnerability to car accidents and drowning, among other dangers and forms of exploitation. In the daaras, talibés may face extremely unsanitary and crowded conditions, regular and severe corporal punishment, sexual abuse, poor protection against the elements, and the trauma of family rupture. Many talibés enter adulthood deprived of a complete education and unprepared for productive employment.
Our Solutions in Senegal
The Aar Sunu Xaleyi (“Protect Our Children”) project (ended March 2019) conducted anti-trafficking activities to assist talibés in Senegal.
The long-term goal was to sustainably reduce the number of talibés in trafficking situations in Saint-Louis and sustainably prevent children from being trafficked from Kolda.
The project objectives were to:
- Increase community resistance to child slavery in destination communities of Saint-Louis through awareness-raising, and preventive and protective actions
- Increase community resistance to child slavery in source communities of Kolda through awareness-raising, and preventive and protective actions
- Strengthen the social and political environment to combat trafficking of children in daaras through advocacy
See our booklet, Catalyzing a Civil Society Movement Against Slavery, for details of the Free the Slaves Community Liberation Initiative strategy to create slavery-free and slavery-resistant communities worldwide.
Read our baseline research report on the scope and dynamics of child begging slavery in Senegal.
See a global Google Map of the communities where we work here.
Our Partners in Senegal
Free the Slaves collaborated with…
- ENDA Youth Action – Environment Development Action in the Third World
- PPDH – Platform for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights