Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 09:24 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - The Gambia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - The Gambia, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Gambia (Tier 2)

The Gambia is a country of origin, transit, and destination for trafficked persons. Sex tourists from The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Belgium exploit Gambian children and, in some cases, traffick them to Europe for prostitution and pornography. Internal trafficking for domestic servitude also occurs. To a lesser extent, The Gambia is a destination for children trafficked from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea for sexual exploitation. The Gambia also serves as a transit point for criminal groups trafficking West African women to Europe.

The Government of The Gambia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. The Gambia's passage of sex tourism and anti-trafficking legislation will enhance its law enforcement efforts.


The government supported a study conducted by an NGO and the Gambian Child Protection Alliance (CPA), a consortium of non-governmental organizations, on the country's large-scale sex tourism problem. The country is completing its own survey with an international organization. Meanwhile, the National Task Force is undertaking a three-pronged plan of action with international organizations, NGOs, and the CPA that includes prevention campaigns focused on pedophiles and prostitution. The government held a two-day workshop to sensitize journalists on reporting child exploitation stories in a victim-friendly way. The Gambian Tourist Authority warns incoming tourists about youths offering assistance and sexual services. The Gambia participates in a regional plan of action against trafficking in persons.


The government is in the process of harmonizing its laws with the U.N. Trafficking in Persons Protocol, which it has ratified, and is already in compliance with the Child Rights Convention. Trafficking nets a 10-year sentence and rapists receive life in prison, but this will increase to the death penalty under the new amendments. Law enforcement arrested and deported five foreigners for trafficking young girls out of The Gambia and in March 2003 broke up a pedophile ring. The government cooperates with the Dutch police to monitor and investigate Dutch pedophiles. The Tourism Bill is being amended to include protective measures for victims and stiffer penalties for abuses committed by tourists. Government enforcement efforts, however, remain weak, particularly against local hotel operators. Foreign applicants for temporary residence permits are required to submit fingerprints for a police check for criminal records. The police have a mechanism by which they receive information on tourists. A special Tourism Force was established with the National Guard. The government issues photo-digitized passports and provides additional training for immigration officers to reduce cross-border trafficking. Police received "After Arrest Procedure" training for dealing with juveniles.


The government provides limited temporary shelter, medical care, and psychological services to victims, but relies primarily on NGOs to provide these services. The Child Welfare Unit of the Police is always commanded by a mother to ensure extra sensitivity to protection issues. The Department of Social Welfare screens all children under 17 prior to travel to Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, and Norway.

Search Refworld