Talibés: Victims of Forced Begging

Annie Vulpas is a MPH intern from The University of Illinois - Chicago with IOFA.  She reflects on her experience studying abroad as an undergraduate student in Senegal and bearing witness to a human rights violation.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I had been a witness of child trafficking everyday for nearly a year.  To the group of American women studying abroad at the Université Gaston Berger in Saint Louis, Senegal, the talibés were mainly a nuisance and many techniques were employed to avoid the filthy, poorly dressed little boys begging for money.  Sometimes we changed directions or crossed the street while walking when we saw a talibé coming; other times, we rudely ignored them or told them “bayyi ma!” (leave me alone!).

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