In 2010, many of the beggars (both adults and children) on the streets of Senegal’s capital Dakar disappeared after the government began enforcing a 2005 ban on public begging, except near mosques and other places of worship, reports NPR. The clampdown occurred in August that year following pressure from organisations, including the Human Rights Watch report which estimated that tens of thousands of young boys were being forced to beg on the streets.
For the first time, in September 2010, the courts in Senegal applied another 2005 law against forcing minors to beg. Scores of religious teachers were found guilty of the practice and either imprisoned or fined. Senegal, a majority Muslim country where begging and giving alms have become usual practices, has, over the years, been having a hard time cracking down on some Islamic schools that are forcing children to beg. Many of these children, known as talibe, are sent by parents in Senegal or trafficked from neighbouring countries such as Guinea-Bissau to Islamic schools, called daaras, where they are supposed to receive food, shelter and teachings from the Koran. But thousands of these children in daaras later end up being forced to beg in the streets to make money for their teachers, called marabouts. Despite the government’s ban on the practice in Dakar and a 2016 programme to remove children from the streets, these children ultimately return to the same Islamic teachers who had sent them begging in the first place, thus, Senegal is having a tough time in getting rid of these children from the streets.