Female students in Senegal's schools sexually exploited by teachers, HRW says

Schoolgirls in a classroom in a middle secondary school in Sédhiou, southern Senegal, in 2017. Photo by Elin Martínez for Human Rights Watch.

(CNN)Fanta was just 16 when she began having sex with her 30-year-old teacher.

A year later, she found out she was pregnant by him.
The teacher denied he impregnated the student when her father tried to make him accept the pregnancy. Fanta lives in the Sédhiou region of southern Senegal, an area with high teen pregnancy rates.
    She abandoned her education as the pregnancy progressed.
    Fanta is one of the dozens of girls who told rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) that they were coerced into having sex with their teachers in Senegal's secondary schools.
    "I felt humiliated in front of my classmates," she told HRW.
    In a new report titled, "It's Not Normal: Sexual Exploitation, Harassment, and Abuse in Secondary Schools in Senegal," female students -- some as young as 16 years old -- said their teachers lured them to have sex in exchange for better grades, food, mobile phones, and new clothes.
    Sixteen-year-old Aïssatou, whom HRW is not identifying by her real name, told the rights group that her teacher lured her to his house.
    He threatened to lower grades when she refused his sexual advances.
    Follow CNN Africa on social media

    Read the latest news from Africa and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

    "One day, he asked me to go to his house. When I went to his house, he offered to give me money and resources. And I told him no. ... He became nasty, (he said) he was not going to give me good grades," she said.
    Students who got pregnant by their teachers have had to drop out of school, the advocacy group said.
    School-related sexual- and gender-based violence is a serious problem in Senegal, HRW said in the report.
    CNN has put in multiple requests for comment to the ministry of education in Senegal but has yet to receive a response.

    Government reforms

    The Senegalese government has implemented policies intended to protect children against many forms of violence in the country.