Speaking during a two-day session to address the reporting questionnaire from the U.S. Department of State Office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons organised by National Agency Against Trafficking in Person (NAATIP), the minister explained that trafficking in person is a major threat to the maintenance of rule of law and public order. He added it is the worst form of violation of human rights.
“The protection of human rights has been placed at the center of our national development plan. The Ministry of Justice is committed to fight all forms of human rights abuses. Children and youths are often targeted because of their vulnerability. The risk of child trafficking has been well documented and it includes isolation, homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, child abuse, abandonment and learning disability.”
Minister Jallow further indicated that children cannot be denied the benefits and joys of childhood, saying the way society treats its children to a great extent determines the type of society it will become.
He said “we must intensify our efforts in combating the menace, and strengthen and mobilise our communities to stop the practice.”
“Victims of trafficking in person must be protected and supported, especially when there are women and children. We must provide counseling, medical support, psychological support materials and other forms of support. Criminals involved in trafficking must be apprehended, prosecuted and punished.”
Jallow continued that the full force of the law must be used to punish those found culpable for those acts. Under his watch, he reiterated, no one shall be spared. “The law will be applied without regards to status, sex or affiliation.”
Dr. Isatou Touray, vice president of Republic of The Gambia stated that the government strongly prohibits trafficking in persons and regards it as crime against humanity. She added that the government will pursue its stance in combating the crime within and outside our borders.
“Gambia has been an active transit zone for trafficking in person, in particular the recruitment of women, boys and girls mainly from West African countries for the purpose of exploitation for sex and labour market.”
VP Touray buttressed that for several decades now, The Gambia has been a destination for children on the move, including the Almodous who are sent for learning, and instead get involved in domestic labour and become beggars on our streets.
In order to end the menace, she said, the government enacted the Trafficking in Persons Act in 2007 with the objective to prevent, suppress and punish those involved in the act and to rehabilitate and reintegrate victims of trafficking.