According to Human Rights Watch, at least 50,000 children live in boarding
schools in Senegal. These religious teaching centers, known as daaras, are the backdrop to the mistreatment and child exploitation suffered by their disciples: the talibes.
The introduction of Islam in Senegal before the French colonization brought with it the foundation of numerous Qur'anic schools to consecrate the study of the islam and the Arabic language among their disciples. Since then, some Senegalese families and also from neighboring countries, especially Guinea-Bissau, send their children to these boarding centers under the tutelage of a Qur'anic teacher, the marabout.
It is nevertheless, after the colonial independence in 1960, when a boom of the forced begging has taken place. Marabouts take advantage of the lack of government regulation and the power they hold in society as spiritual guides to turn religious education into child exploitation.
Talibes children are forced to beg in the streets carrying an empty can to collect alms. They wander in small groups trying to collect the daily dues that their tutor has imposed on them; a considerable amount of money, rice and sugar that must satisfy the marabout under the threat of abuse.
All this occurs under a religious social majority that continues to ignore the problem, or in the worst case even justifies begging as a symbol of humility and charity according to the commandments of Islam.