Off the Backs of the Children: Forced Begging and Other Abuses against Talibés in Senegal

This report is based on 11 weeks of field research in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau between November 2009 and February 2010. During the course of this research, interviews were conducted with 175 children; 33 religious authorities, marabouts, and imams in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; Senegalese and Bissau-Guinean government officials at the national and local levels; diplomats; academics and religious historians; representatives from international organizations, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM); representatives from national and international nongovernmental organizations, national human rights groups, and community associations working in various ways to assist the talibés; and some 20 families in Senegalese and Bissau-Guinean villages who had sent their children to distant cities to learn the Quran.