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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                        

Republic of Senegal

After seeing its economy contract by 2.1% in 1993, Senegal made an important turnaround, thanks to the reform program, with real growth in GDP averaging over 5% annually during 1995-2008. Annual inflation had been pushed down to the single digits.

High unemployment, however, continues to prompt illegal migrants to flee Senegal in search of better job opportunities in Europe.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Senegal

Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than trans-border trafficking and the majority of victims are children. Within Senegal, religious teachers traffic boys, called talibe, by promising to educate them, but subjecting them instead to forced begging and physical abuse. A 2007 study done by UNICEF, the ILO and the World Bank found that 6,480 talibe were forced to beg in Dakar alone. Women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation -- including exploitation by foreign sex tourists -- within Senegal. Children are also trafficked for forced labor in gold mines within Senegal. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Senegal.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Lives of Street Children in Senegal to Improve through New Campaign

The World Bank News, February 13, 2007,,contentMDK:21218879~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html

[accessed 21 December 2010]

CHILD TRAFFICKERS TARGETED - Poor parents who cannot afford to care for their children often entrust them to religious leaders known as marabous to educate them and teach them the Koran.

Child traffickers posing as marabous will often kidnap the children from villages and take them to Dakar where they are forced to beg for handouts in the streets. Under threat of beatings, the children must give the money to their “masters.”


*** ARCHIVES ***

First Human Trafficking Case Law Database launched in Senegal

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM)

[accessed 27  October 2019]

Despite Senegal’s significant efforts to identify and assist trafficking survivors, the country’s taskforce against trafficking in persons (TiP) faces a lack of data on survivors, crimes, and traffickers. What’s more, weak networking and information sharing among local authorities and others means coordination of actions across Senegal is impaired.

In this context, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Senegal and the Ministry of Justice, through its National Unit for Combatting Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP) and the Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Amnesty (DACG), has endeavoured to promote the country’s first human trafficking case law database, the Système de suivi de la traite, known as Systraite.

The online system will collect data on trafficking survivors – such as the country or region of origin, age, gender – the types of abuse they faced, and other data including methods of referral procedure before courts and traffickers’ profiles.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Senegal

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 22 June 2021]


Forced child labor occurred, including forced begging by children in some Quranic schools (see section 6). Some children in these schools were kept in conditions of servitude; were forced to work daily, generally in the street begging; and had to meet a daily quota for money (or sometimes sugar or rice) set by their teachers. The National Antitrafficking Task Force and Child Protection Special Unit continued to address these matters throughout the country. When officials identified a potential forced begging case, however, they often did not prosecute according to previously mandated minimum sentencing guidelines.


Most instances of child labor occurred in the informal economy where labor regulations were not enforced. Economic pressures and inadequate educational opportunities often pushed rural families to emphasize work over education for their children. Child labor was especially common in the regions of Tambacounda, Louga, and Fatick, where up to 90 percent of children worked. Child labor was prevalent in many informal and family-based sectors, such as agriculture (millet, corn, and peanuts), fishing, artisanal gold mining, garages, dumpsites, slaughterhouses, salt production, rock quarrying, and metal and woodworking shops. In the large, informal, unregulated artisanal mining sector, entire families, including children, were engaged in artisanal mining work. Child gold washers, most ages 10 to 14, worked approximately eight hours a day using toxic agents such as mercury without training or protective equipment. There were also reports of children working on family farms or herding cattle. Children also worked as domestics, in tailoring shops, at fruit and vegetable stands, and in other areas of the informal economy.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 5 May 2020]


Child labor remains a problem, particularly in the informal economy, and laws restricting the practice are inadequately enforced. Forced begging by students at religious schools is common, and teachers suspected of abuse are rarely prosecuted.

Sex trafficking remains a concern, although according to the US State Department, the government has increased its efforts to eliminate trafficking and prosecute perpetrators. However, it is difficult to discern the robustness of the law enforcement response, since the government does not publicize records on sex trafficking arrests and prosecutions.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 5 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 863]

Children in Senegal are exploited in domestic servitude, forced labor in gold mines, and trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, particularly internal trafficking. (25; 26; 27) In Senegal, it is a traditional practice to send boys to Koranic schools, called daaras. However, instead of receiving an education, many students, known as talibés, are forced to beg by their teachers, known as marabouts. (5; 9; 26; 35; 36; 37) The marabouts take the talibés’ earnings and often beat those who fail to meet the daily quota. (5; 6; 10; 36; 37) This system enriches marabouts, bringing in over $10 million annually in Dakar alone, according to a recent study by UNODC. (38; 39) The talibés often live in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, receive inadequate food and medical care, and are vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse. (5; 6; 9; 34; 37; 40) They typically come from rural areas in Senegal and from neighboring countries, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. (5; 6; 35; 37; 41) A 2014 daara-mapping study estimated that 30,000 of the estimated 54,800 talibés in Dakar are forced to beg, and a 2016 study found that 9,000 of the estimated 14,000 talibés in the St. Louis department are also forced to beg. (14; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 50).

Child Labour Persists Around The World: More Than 13 Percent Of Children 10-14 Are Employed

International Labour Organisation (ILO) News, Geneva, 10 June 1996

[accessed 4 September 2011]

[accessed 15 February 2018]

"Today's child worker will be tomorrow's uneducated and untrained adult, forever trapped in grinding poverty. No effort should be spared to break that vicious circle", says ILO Director-General Michel Hansenne.

Among the countries with a high percentage of their children from 10-14 years in the work force are: Mali, 54.5 percent; Burkina Faso, 51; Niger and Uganda, both 45; Kenya, 41.3; Senegal, 31.4; Bangladesh, 30.1; Nigeria, 25.8; Haiti, 25; Turkey, 24; Côte d'Ivoire, 20.5; Pakistan, 17.7; Brazil, 16.1; India, 14.4; China, 11.6; and Egypt, 11.2.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2006 [DOC]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 September 2006$FILE/G0644838.doc

[accessed 21 December 2010],CRC,CONCOBSERVATIONS,SEN,45c30bca0,0.html

[accessed 15 February 2018]

[60] The Committee notes with appreciation the establishment of projects with a view to improving the curriculum of education of talibés.  However, the Committee is concerned by the large number of working children and in particular by the current practice of the Koranic schools run by marabouts who use the talibés on a large scale for economic gain, by sending them to agricultural fields or to the streets for begging and other illicit work that provides money, thus preventing them from having access to health, education and good living conditions.

[62] The Committee notes the measures taken by the State party to prevent girls from being used as domestic servants (petites bonnes) and subjected to economic exploitation and sexual abuse.  However, the Committee is concerned by the growing extent of this reality which threatens the health, physical integrity and education of the girl child.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 1995

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 27 November 1995

[accessed 21 December 2010]

[15] The Committee is seriously worried at the difficult living conditions faced by a great number of talibés, who are deprived of the enjoyment of their fundamental rights under the law.


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 5 May 2020]


Child labor remains a problem, particularly in the informal economy, and laws restricting the practice are inadequately enforced. Forced begging by students at religious schools is common. A July 2017 report published by Human Rights Watch and Senegalese human rights groups assessed the first year of the government’s program to reduce forced begging; it found that several hundred children taken from such schools had been returned to their families, but that over 1,000 were returned to the same schools they were taken from and that teachers suspected of abuse were not investigated.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Reliable statistics on the extent of the trafficking problem were unavailable. However, studies have shown the extent of trafficking in and through the country to be significant, particularly with regards to child begging. Talibés were trafficked from surrounding nations, such as The Gambia, Mali, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau, and internally to participate in exploitive begging by some Koranic schools. According to the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the country had 100 thousand talibe boys and 10 thousand street children. "Marabouts," the Koranic teachers who take charge of these boys, were the principal traffickers in the country. Young girls were trafficked from villages in the Diourbel, Fatick, Kaolack, Thies, and Ziguinchor regions to urban centers for work as underage domestics.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 21 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Senegal is a source and transit country for child trafficking to Europe for sexual exploitation.  Senegal is also a destination country for children trafficked from surrounding countries.  Most trafficking victims are young males forced into exploitive begging for Koranic teachers.  These boys, known as talibés, spend the majority of the day begging for their Koranic teachers and are vulnerable to sexual and other exploitation.  Domestically, some Koranic teachers bring children from rural areas to Senegal’s major cities, holding them under conditions of involuntary servitude.  Children from Guinea and Guinea-Bissau can also be found begging in Senegal’s streets as part of this exploitive practice.

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - In March 2004, the government participated in a workshop in Mali to discuss regional strategies for addressing child trafficking in West Africa.  In July 2004, Senegal signed a bilateral agreement with Mali to combat child trafficking between the two countries.  Since 2003, Senegal’s Family Ministry has operated the “Ginddi Center” in Dakar to receive and care for street children, including trafficking victims.  Pursuant to Senegal’s 2004 anti-trafficking accord with Mali, trafficked Malian children are kept at the Ginddi Center prior to repatriation.

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