Last Updated: Tuesday, 06 October 2015, 08:57 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - The Gambia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - The Gambia, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 6 October 2015]
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 source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic and commercial labor. Sex tourists from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Belgium exploit Gambian children and, in some cases, traffic them to Europe for prostitution and pornography. Children are internally trafficked from rural to urban areas for forced work, including begging, street vending, and domestic servitude. The Gambia is a transit point for West African women being trafficked to Europe, the Middle East, and the United States for sexual exploitation. It is also a destination country for West African children exploited as domestics, farm laborers, beggars, street vendors, and in the sex trade. Child prostitutes typically have "leaders" or pimps and operate from bars, hotels, and brothels with the approval of proprietors and managers.

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. During 2003, the government made tremendous efforts to confront trafficking, including the passage of the Tourism Offenses Act, the drafting of a trafficking bill, and the formation of a trafficking task force. The government should discontinue the practice of returning trafficking victims to their captors and take immediate steps to protect future victims. The government should also enact and implement comprehensive trafficking legislation to ensure that the legal mechanisms are in place to enable the prosecution of traffickers.


No comprehensive law prohibits trafficking in persons, but the government began to draft a bill in late 2003. Provisions in the Gambian criminal code deal with kidnapping, abduction, buying, selling, and trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation. The penalty for trafficking is 10 years' imprisonment. The Tourism Offenses Act of 2003 criminalizes child prostitution and pornography engaged in by tourists, and carries severe punishments. A task force reviewed existing laws on child protection and is preparing to submit draft legislation to the National Assembly. No trafficking cases have been prosecuted in the Gambian court system.


In 2003, the government contributed to the construction of a shelter for trafficking victims. Authorities briefly rescued 100 Ghanaian children trafficked for commercial labor and sexual exploitation in February 2004. Due to an inability to provide protective services, the government returned the rescued Ghanaian children to their traffickers.


In 2003, the government formed a trafficking taskforce. The Gambia attended the October 2003 ECOWAS regional meeting on trafficking in Abuja. Following that meeting, a trafficking office was created at the Department of State for Justice and charged with developing a national plan to implement the ECOWAS Action Plan. The Head of State publicly condemned child trafficking and vowed to take action to prevent it during the March 2004 opening of the National Assembly.

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