U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - The Gambia
The Gambia (Tier 2)
The Gambia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Trafficking occurs within the country and internationally. Women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for street vending, sexual exploitation, work in the fishing industry, and by religious leaders for begging. Women and children are trafficked to The Gambia from Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, and Nigeria. Frequent tourists to The Gambia from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Belgium have created a demand for child sex tourism. Children are trafficked from The Gambia to Senegal and 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. The Gambia was reassessed this year to Tier 2 from Tier 2 Watch List for demonstrating increased law enforcement and victim protection efforts. To strengthen its response to trafficking, the government should better monitor the transport of minors out of the country, strengthen efforts to care for repatriated Gambian victims, and educate law enforcement officials to better identify sex trafficking victims.
The Government of The Gambia made noticeable progress in combating trafficking through law enforcement over the past year. In June 2005, the National Assembly passed the Children's Act, which prohibits child trafficking. In accordance with the Act, the first Children's Court was established. During the reporting period, the government began drafting a law against the trafficking of adults. While no traffickers were convicted, the government investigated nine trafficking cases, two of which were prosecuted. Police also arrested a British national under the Tourism Offenses Act for child trafficking prior to the passage of the Children's Act, though the case was dismissed for lack of evidence. In cooperation with UNICEF, Ghanaian and Gambian officials met to negotiate a bilateral anti-trafficking agreement. The government failed, however, to train police to identify potential trafficking victims during brothel raids to enforce laws against prostitution. There were no reports of public officials investigated or prosecuted for complicity in trafficking.
The Government of The Gambia demonstrated increased progress in protecting trafficking victims over the last year. In collaboration with an NGO and a private bank, the government established a 24-hour hotline and opened a child victim shelter in Banjul with a capacity for 48 victims. The government has also announced plans to open an additional victim shelter outside Banjul. While the government does not employ a formal screening or referral process for victims, it commonly refers them to NGOs and international organizations for assistance. The government, however, has few services to assist repatriated Gambian victims and has not been involved in their care during the reporting period.
The government made modest efforts to educate the public about trafficking during the year. The Child Protection Alliance (CPA), a consortium of over 60 government agencies and NGOs, conducted several awareness campaigns, including a workshop to educate hotel personnel about child sexual tourism. With leadership from the government's Department of State for Justice, the CPA will launch a U.S. Government-funded trafficking education campaign in 2006. In collaboration with UNICEF, the Gambian Tourism Authority printed a flyer about trafficking that is given to tourists arriving by air. Regular editorials about the trafficking of boys by religious teachers ran in a government-aligned newspaper. The government issued a press release urging the public to report suspected traffickers.