Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - The Gambia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - The Gambia, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 29 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 Watch List)

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 European countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Belgium exploit Gambian children. Children are trafficked from other countries in the region, mainly Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria, and internally from rural to urban areas, for forced work, including sexual exploitation, begging, street vending, and involuntary domestic servitude. Women are trafficked into The Gambia across its land borders and exploited in prostitution or involuntary domestic servitude. Ghanaian children are also trafficked to The Gambia for forced labor in the fishing industry. Children engage in prostitution in bars, hotels, and brothels with the knowledge of business 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. The Gambia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List due to the government's lack of appreciable efforts to identify trafficking situations and prosecute traffickers. The government has made little progress in educating the Gambian public about the dangers of trafficking, particularly the country's internal trafficking problem. The government should develop and implement a national strategy to use available resources to educate its citizens about trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and assist trafficking victims.


The Gambia continued to lack a comprehensive law prohibiting trafficking and law enforcement mechanisms remained inadequate to address the trafficking problem over the reporting period. Draft anti-trafficking legislation remained pending; existing criminal provisions dealt principally with kidnapping, abduction, child sex tourism, and sexual exploitation of children. Authorities closed their investigation of an early 2004 case involving Ghanaian child victims after claiming they lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute. No information was available to confirm whether police actively investigated complaints of sexual exploitation of minors in prostitution or forced labor over the last year; no new cases or prosecutions were reported. Law enforcement lacked training and resources, and the government had no strategy to collect data. There was no evidence that government authorities or individual members of government forces were involved in, facilitated, or condoned trafficking.


Over the last year, the government lacked resources and was unable to provide adequate protection and assistance specifically for trafficking victims. It ran no shelters for trafficking victims and the country had no victim protection in law or practice. The government obtained funding to build a shelter, which, once built, will likely be used for trafficking victims and others in need. Updated information on the February 2004 trafficking case involving dozens of Ghanaian child victims indicated that authorities reunited eight victims with their families and returned 12 to their country of origin.


The government in 2004 conducted some anti-trafficking campaigns that focused on preventing child sex tourism. Leaflets distributed at Banjul's international airport warned foreign visitors against sexually exploiting Gambian children. The government encouraged businesses to train their staffs and sign on to a code of conduct to combat child sex tourism. Other prevention efforts focused on programs to send girls to school and government participation in regional meetings on trafficking. The pending Children's Bill that would specifically outlaw trafficking of children was featured in the Head of State's speech at the National Assembly's opening in March 2005.

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