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Aida Mbodj

Senegal , Class of 2005

Aida Mbodj

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Aida Mbodj is a powerful politician in Senegal, well-respected and admired, who used her political power to combat human trafficking in the early part of the millennium.

During the government of Macky Sall, she was appointed as the Minister of Women, the Family, and Social Development. This position was later expanded to include the title of women’s entrepreneurship. While serving as a Minister, Ms. Mbodj publicly denounced exploitative practices of child begging which exist in Senegal. She has fought the practices of child labor everywhere she has found them. There is a practice where some religious leaders would use children to generate income, and she has worked to end that practice. She was able to establish a system of subsidies from her Ministry to Koranic schools which do not support some of these exploitative cultural practices, and was key in getting the government of Senegal to sign a 2004 agreement to end trafficking with Mali. In 2005, that agreement had already helped over 50 children return home. She also was able to pursue religious leaders in the community to combat trafficking practices such as forced begging, showing that they are inconsistent with the teachings of Islam. She was honored in 2005 as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking..

Since 2004, she has remained active in Senegalese politics. She was not kept on the cabinet in the 2007 elections, but she has made a political comeback and remains active in the current government as a Minister. She also founded, in March of 2014, the National Alliance for Democracy (l’Alliance Nationale pour la Démocratie/Saxal Sénégal). In the 2014 TIP Report, Senegal was listed as a Tier 2 country. It is a source, transit, and destination country. Child begging still remains a large problem in Dakar, labor trafficking is still a problem throughout out the country, and some women are trafficked out of the country for sexual exploitation. 

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