UNODC and Senegalese municipalities unite against child exploitation

 This activity was funded by the United States

Senegal is a country of origin, transit and destination for child victims of forced begging and trafficking. Specifically, tens of thousands of children, commonly known as talibés are forced to beg across Senegal, as part of their Islamic studies in schools (called daaras) administered by Koranic teachers. Many of these children are often trafficked between Senegal and neighboring countries such as Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Mali. The Senegalese issue is therefore regional and fuels trafficking in persons across West Africa.   

UNODC organized, in partnership with civil society organizations, a popular march on 3 March 2016 to commemorate the death of 9 talibés in the Medina on 3 March 2013. More than a thousand people took part to the event and walked in the streets of Medina to say "NO" to the exploitation of children through forced begging. The opportunity was also seized to distribute more than 1,000 stickers to car drivers and encourage them to take part in the advocacy for the eradication of forced child begging in Senegal.

Participants to the march in the streets of Medina, in Dakar, Senegal

The event culminated when the mayor Bamba Fall read out the law prohibiting child begging in the entire municipality of Medina. "It is forbidden in the communal perimeter of Medina to beg, and to abuse and exploit children" he stated in front of the hometown to the walkers and the national and international press.

A recent study, lead by the National Unit to Fight against Human Trafficking and published in 2013, revealed that more than 50,000 talibés live exclusively in the Dakar region. The study also reveals that 30,000 among this number are forced to beg on behalf of adults and pay daily amounts ranging from 300 francs to 500 francs.

Children talibés in Senegal are facing problems of abuse and exploitation despite a 2005 law prohibiting forced begging and trafficking and despite provisions in the penal code criminalizing any willful neglect and physical abuse of children.

 Members of the band "Xalam" show their support towards the cause

This initiative was a success thanks to the technical assistance provided by UNODC to the municipalities of Medina and Gueule Tapée Fass Colobane since 2014 and thanks to the contributions of USAID / Senegal. This activity took place as part of the advocacy initiated by UNODC in partnership with the municipalities of Dakar for the eradication of forced child begging, and was conducted in partnership with Save the Children, the Platform for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and the municipalities of Medina and Gueule Tapée Fass Colobane.

For more information:

UNODC Regional Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in West and Central Africa

Definitions and tools on human trafficking and migrant smuggling

UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel

Contribution of UNODC to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel