Senegal's Begging Ban Hurts Struggling Poor

Senegal's Begging Ban Hurts Struggling Poor

In response to a recent Human Rights Watch report about the abuse of beggar children and growing international pressure, the Senegalese government has cracked down on begging in the nation's capital.

The crack down was intended to curb abuse by school leaders, who force children to beg on the streets, and beat them if they don't meet the desired quota.

According to NPR, the new restrictions have had negative impacts on the poor populations that the laws were intended to help.

NPR reports,

Opponents of the crackdown say that, with little formal employment in Senegal and a virtually nonexistent welfare state, many people have no option but to beg.

Regardless of government policy, many beggars -- including 47-year-old Fatou Ndour, who is blind -- say they have no choice.

Ndour says the money she earns begging helps to look after and educate her eight children. She says she'll brave police raids and the government ban, because otherwise her family will go hungry.

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