On the Talibé Phenomenon: A Look into the Complex Nature of Forced Child Begging in Senegal

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Antoinette K. Zoumanigui The University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, USA

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This paper focuses on factors that have contributed to the persistence of forced child begging in Senegal. It interprets from a socio-cultural perspective the evolution and acceptance of an unremitting social phenomenon where talibés or Muslim child disciples beg on the streets of a now metropolitan Senegal. In seeking to highlight the fundamental causes of forced child begging, this paper draws on fieldwork and interviews with religious leaders, ngo representatives and Senegalese citizens. The paper then argues that there are four vital factors at the root of the perpetuation of the issue in question: parental motivation; the concept of alms giving; the lack of collaboration among various advocacy groups; and the lack of communication between government officials and religious leaders. These factors in their breadth allow for a macroscopic and exploratory analysis of the phenomenon of forced child begging and the implications of the problems it poses for the current state of Senegalese society. Finally, the paper aims to highlight how proposed solutions of engaging in forthright conversations about the controversial nature of the practice along with consolidating earnest efforts to put an end to it, can help lead to the termination of what has emerged as a modern human rights tragedy.

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