Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


A depressing story about Islamic schools (this one in Senegal) that recruit children from naive parents and enslave them as beggars.

In the capital of Dakar alone, at least 7,600 child beggars work the streets, according to a study released in February by the ILO, the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Bank. The children collect an average of 300 African francs a day, just 72 cents, reaping their keepers $2 million a year.

Most of the boys - 90 percent, the study found - are sent out to beg under the cover of Islam, placing the problem at the complicated intersection of greed and tradition. For among the cruelest facts of Coli's life is that he was not stolen from his family. He was brought to Dakar with their blessing to learn Islam's holy book.

Life in the Gap sucks. Especially for some children. Especially on a planet that's seeing more slavery now than ever before.

Addendum: Africa Flak has some informed analysis on this subject (thanks Adrian for bringing it to my attention.) The tomato can kids: When an army of young beggars comes knocking, what to do?


G said...

2 million a year for begging is insane.

Adrian said...

In Timbuktu, children beg for their schools, who then feed and clothe them. It seems like that more normal relationship has been corrupted in Dakar and Guinea-Bissau. But not every kid who begs for his school is a slave, beaten, etc.

Adrian said...

Africa Flak has a good post on the same article, giving a little history of the practice.

Jay@Soob said...

Munz, Yep.

Adrian, indeed, as the article points out, given the prohibition of paying for such education many children traditionally worked and earned for the school. Thanks for the link.