Launch of a new Project against Child Begging in Senegal

This activity was funded by the United States

Forced child begging is one of the main forms of trafficking in Senegal. Thousands of children, commonly known as "talibés" are forced to beg across the country, as part of their studies in koranic schools (called " daaras"). Many of these children are often trafficked between Senegal and neighboring countries such as Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Mali.

In this context, UNODC, in collaboration with USAID and several municipalities of Dakar established a Project against Child Begging in 2014, also called "Zéro mendicité". The Project seeks implementation of local actions in order to reduce and eradicate child begging in targeted municipalities in Dakar region. Its main objectives include supporting local legal frameworks against child begging, improving data collection on child begging and trafficking, setting up community care mechanisms and sensitizing the community and local authorities on the issue of child begging.

On 27 February 2018, UNODC, USAID and the municipalities of Medina, Gueule Tapée Fass Colobane, Diameguene Sicap Mbao and Pikine Nord jointly launched the Phase II of the Project in Pikine Nord in front of 300 people and the press. It is linked with the successful results already registred during the Phase I in Medina and Gueule Tapee Fass Colobane. This event took place two years after the march that UNODC organized with USAID in Dakar to commemorate the death of 9 talibés in the Medina on 3 March 2013.

Short plays during the event of 27 February 2018, in Pikine Nord, Senegal

From the USAID final independent evaluation report child begging was reduced by 50% in the municipalities of Medina and Gueule Tapée Fass Colobane since 2016. Broadening the geographical scope will allow to tackle child begging both in municipalities of origin of the children (Diameguene-Sicap Mbao and Pikine Nord) and in municipalities where they are brought to beg (Medina and Gueule Tapee Fass Colobane), thus facilitating the eradication of the phenomenon. An integrated approach, including all actors concerned - the community, the civil society, local authorities and Quranic teachers, is necessary to strengthen the fight against child begging and child exploitation and to advocate for the respect of their fundamental rights, as well as their access to care services, protection, education and reinsertion.

During the launch ceremony, USAID signed a new agreement with the municipalities of Diameguene Sicap Mbao and Pikine Nord and renewed the existing agreement with the municipalities of  Medina and Gueule Tapee Fass Colobane in the presence of the Senegalese government, USAID, UNODC, the mayors of the municipalities, the association of Quranic teachers and the local NGOs focusing on child protection.

Signature of the agreement between USAID and the municipalities on 27 February 2018, in Pikine Nord, Senegal

In 2014, the government estimated 30 000 children "talibés" begging in the streets of Dakar and its region. Not only they are victims of human rights violations but also generate a large profit for child traffickers (more than 5 million dollars annually) who should be pursued and prosecuted under Senegal's legal framework - the 2005 Law to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Practices and to Protect Victims and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

The second phase of the Project against Child Begging will be implemented from January 2018 to December 2020, thus contributing to the Regional Strategy to combat Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants (2015-2020) and falling under the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020). Through this project, UNODC also contributes to the achievement of the SDG 16 especially to its specific target on children, 16.2: "End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children".

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