Muslims sell slaves in Islamic schools
Holding a rusty begging tin that is the trademark of the “talibes” — students at Senegal’s Koranic schools — Balde says he must take back money or face a beating from his religious teacher, or marabout.
“I must bring back 500 francs, about $0.90, every day to my master or face punishment,” says the tiny boy, who travels from his squalid daara, or religious school, in the distant suburb of Thiaroye to beg all day in the city center.
Balde is one of an estimated 100,000 children begging on the streets of Senegal — about 1 percent of the population, according to U.N. officials — most of them sent out by their religious teachers...
...Now, the booming industry has become so successful that children are smuggled from neighboring Mali, Gambia or Mauritania to beg in Dakar, U.N. child agency UNICEF said. Balde was separated from his parents in Guinea Bissau.
The child slave trade isn't limited to begging, although in Senegal forcing children to beg on the streets has become a mafia-style racket that brings in hefty profits for Islamic leaders. Children are sold into other types of slavery as well. They go to labor camps, mines, lumber mills, and docks. Many are sold into sex slavery. NY Times, Africa’s World of Forced Labor, in a 6-Year-Old’s Eyes:
Mark Kwadwo is 6 years old. About 30 pounds, dressed in a pair of blue and red underpants and a Little Mermaid T-shirt, he looks more like an oversized toddler than a boat hand. He is too little to understand why he has wound up in this fishing village, a two-day trek from his home.
But the three older boys who work with him know why. Like Mark, they are indentured servants, leased by their parents to Mr. Takyi for as little as $20 a year.
Until their servitude ends in three or four years, they are as trapped as the fish in their nets, forced to work up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, in a trade that even adult fishermen here call punishing and, at times, dangerous.
Mr. Takyi’s boys — conscripts in a miniature labor camp, deprived of schooling, basic necessities and freedom — are part of a vast traffic in children that supports West and Central African fisheries, quarries, cocoa and rice plantations and street markets. The girls are domestic servants, bread bakers, prostitutes. The boys are field workers, cart pushers, scavengers in abandoned gem and gold mines...
...The International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, estimates that 1.2 million are sold into servitude every year in an illicit trade that generates as much as $10 billion annually.
Africa’s children, the world’s poorest, account for roughly one-sixth of the trade, according to the labor organization. Data is notoriously scarce, but it suggests victimization of African children on a huge scale.
Related: Dubai Muslims Enslave Children