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Children in Senegal Begging in the Name of Islam

In the Name of Islam Children in Senegal Are Sold into Slavery

In a shocking and sad modern day Oliver Twist scenario, today in Senegal roughly 1.2 million impoverished children are trafficked to work for the benefit of others. They are pressed into servitude, begging on the streets to earn about $15 billion to pad the pockets of those who enslave them. What is perhaps most shocking is that in countries like Dakar, at least 7,600 of these children are sent to beg in the streets under the cover of Islam.

Sadly these children are usually not stolen, but given away by their families when they are as young as two years old. Since the 11th century, families have traditionally sent their sons to study at the Quranic schools that dot Africa's western seaboard since the rise of Islam. Because it is forbidden in the Quran to charge a student for religious instruction, traditionally a student would work for their tuition by farming. To see how this has devolved into human trafficking,


Since droughts have caused many of the rural areas to no longer support farms, let alone an educational institution, they are forced to move to urban areas such as Dakar, Senegal’s capital. Here instead of farming, the children are forced to beg sometimes nine hours a day and receive instruction for two hours. If they fail to furnish their minimum quota of change from begging, they are often physically abused.

Since the children are kept in extreme poverty themselves, they have no way to return home and some of the children were given up at such a young age, they don’t even know where their homes or families are located. This picture shows a child in Senegal raising awareness to the practice by carrying a sign that reads, "No begging for children." UNICEF is one organization aiming to ensure just that.

Are you surprised that this happens?


Join The Conversation
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
Coosie - you know what historians call citizens that work and are taxed 100% of their incomes as long as they're provided for? Capitalist Imperialism. Take a good, long, hard look at who precisely began that particular system, and where. After slavery was abolished, you think Imperialist nations wanted to pay workers? No... the easier way was to colonize and tax entire incomes - all the while barely supporting miners, farmers, etc. As long as they were alive, no one said boo to them. And anyone who thinks colonialism died out needs to examine the business practices and investments of multi-million dollar corporations and particularly the governments of former imperialist nations. All it takes is a few well-placed people in power to continue this exploitative system. Also, I recommend you try to read the Quran and the Hadith before you call Islam a religion of "hate". One could certainly argue that since white Christians were the ones who began the modern system of slavery as was present in the Americas as a racialized system, that they were the ones perpetuating "hate" in Jesus' name. I don't feel comfortable classifying an entire race or religion based on the actions of a very few, and I think anyone who IS comfortable with that needs to seriously analyze their lives. Your own hatred blinds you.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
It will be so hard for these people to overcome years of this type of treatment. Education is a good start. It is hideous how little attention that sometimes Africa and its people get.
zeze zeze 9 years
Africa is really another world in some respects, notice the article talks about people being so illiterate that they can't sign their name and everyone fears "supernatural retaliation." This is just another example of poor, uneducated people being exploited by those who know more than they do. It's so sad, sometimes I think people in this villages need teachers a lot more than they need food. It's like the age old saying of "give a man a fish and you feed him a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life." The end of the article talks about the father being embarrassed by these high class exploiters and will send them two more sons, imagine if more organizations existed to teach parents that "God" in any religion will not damn you if you protect your child from begging and beatings, even at the sacrifice of Islamic teachings, and especially from opportunistic thugs - this organization would save all three sons instead of one.
samantha999 samantha999 9 years
Sorry Syako & nyaradzom, should have specified the "they" - Janjiweed. Children hold the innocence of the world in their hands and it takes just us adults to crush it.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
Modern Muslims treat the Koran as others treat the "old testament" where it speaks of killing and stoning, etc. The idea, as the Pope so eloquently put it, is not to do to someone else what you don't want done to you (the negative of the 'greatest commandment in the new testament' is in most other philosophies and religious writings is put in the negative). More cultures understand it said this way. Am I surprised? No, Africa is still the least understood of the Continents. And it's especially sad that perverted forms of Islam, other than a Modern understanding that allows for religious freedom and conversions to other religions, reigns supreme along with a form of Socialistic Marxism (which history shows doesn't work, but which the Obamas and the Clintons are trying to portray in a positive way in the USofA). When Socialism-Marxism enters a country with promises of everything a person needs to live, the people who work (and who can be taxed up to 100% of their income as long as they are provided for as everyone else is) eventually get tired of working and having nothing 'extra' to show for it. Eventually no one works and everyone wants the government to dole out everything they need/want. And that's when the riots start because hungry people are dissatisfied people and easy fodder for Islam's religion of hate. And then there's a coup and an ongoing war among tribal leaders for the 'best' land to raise crops or cattle for their tribe and in the name of Allah who allows and encourages hatred and anger and killing. I'm of the opinion that the developed countries could go a long way in helping Africa. It bothers me that it appears as if no one seems to care. I know some do care and some can't go to help because of their political situations. Really sad when politics in a Country is more important than their own starving peoples.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Samantha, there are many people from many different religions all over the world who are sold into slavery/trafficked. What is perhaps most shocking is that in countries like Dakar, at least 7,600 of these children are sent to beg in the streets under the cover of Islam. I'm always shocked at the way some people can be so willing to pervert their religion and twist into fitting their own personal ambitions/desires. When the Quran forbade the charging of a fee for religious instruction, I sense that the intent was that religious instruction be made readily available for free without any compensation... Besides, if these children are working/begging for money in the streets and giving that to the "schools" - is that not the same as paying a fee? Thank you for the article, CitizenSugar!
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
Smantha please bear in mind there are 53 countries in Africa so when you say, In Africa they..., who precisely are you talking about??? And child trafficking is not only an African issue so the discussed subject should be children around the world,or EVERY RELIGION and race are taken against their will and sold into slavery.
syako syako 9 years
samantha, who is they?
samantha999 samantha999 9 years
Where in the Qur'an does it say you can not charge to teach a child. Teachers need to earn a living. What should be a more shocking subject and a wider discussed subject is that in Africa they take Christians from their homes, against their will and sell them in to slavery (including sexual).
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
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