Accepted paper:

Confinement in proper place: repatriation of Bissau-Guinean Quran school boys in Senegal

Authors:

Jónína Einarsdóttir (University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation deals with the repatriation of Bissau-Guinean Quran school boys in Senegal. The aim is to explore repatriation as an anti-trafficking measure and confinement strategy. Through repatriation, that confines boys to a proper place, the boys circulate between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau.

Paper long abstract:

Repatriation of Bissau-Guinean Quran school boys in Senegal who beg for their teachers named marabouts includes their 'capture' in the street, transfer to a transit centre and, if successful, confinement in their village of origin. The aim is to explore repatriation as an anti-trafficking measure and confinement strategy. Data is based on series of fieldworks in 2009-17 and focuses on the marabouts, the boys, parents, villagers and NGO staff. After being either 'captured' or having oneself 'captured' for a free ride, the boys are transported to Guinea-Bissau. Before being released, the fathers are obliged to sign a paper and promise that their sons will stay in the village, otherwise they will be taken to the court. In the village, some boys work for their parents and marabout; others stroll around in idleness. As repatriated victims of trafficking elsewhere, the boys face challenges that include stigma, mistrust and rejection at family and community level. Despite threats taking the fathers to court, most boys return to Senegal. Some keep on with Quran studies while others enter some 'trade' or recruit peers at home to beg in Senegal. Through the circulation of boys, the NGOs keep their transit centres going while some marabouts and parents use the repatriation annually as free transport ahead of the intensive labour period. The NGOs backed up by global governance, the Palermo Protocol and funds from the international community, strive to keep children in proper place. The marabouts, the religious leaders equipped with symbolic capital, master the game.

panel P004
Confinement as a category of practice and a category of analysis [Anthropology of Confinement Network]