The Gambia has become a hotspot for human trafficking, with victims coming from not only the Gambia, but all over West Africa. Women and children are subjected to sex trafficking, forced labor in street vending, and domestic servitude. Reports indicate that the rates of children, especially boys, being forced into sex work is growing in the country. Child sex tourism is a big issue in the country and it is often hard to detect. European sex tourists take advantage of the Gambia’s sex trafficking economy by erecting networks within the country to better protect themselves from prosecution. For example, sex tourists even utilize European and Gambian travel agencies to organize and promote sex tourism in the country. NGO’s have identified the sext tourism industry as a problem, however the Gambian government has failed to prosecute or protect victims.
Gambian People People Forced into Domestic Servitude and Sex Work
Additonally, there have been several instances of Gambian people being forced into domestic servitude and sex work in the Middle East. In 2010 The Gambia and Qatar created an agreement which made it easier for Qatari companies to employ Gambian people. However, after hundreds of Gambians arrived in Qatar, the agreement dissolved as Qatari companies realized Gambian expats did not possess the skills they required.This was the beginning of a human trafficking epidemic in the Middle East that brought people from the Gambia under false pretenses to countries such as Lebanon, Kuwait, and Egypt to be forced in domestic servitude and sex trafficking. Private agencies were created to recruit workers for human trafficking rings in Middle Eastern countries. Young Gambian citizens who graduated from school jobless, use these agencies to obtain jobs in Middle Eastern countries, only to realize too late they had been forced into sex work and domestic servitude.
The Gambian government has done little to fix its human trafficking problems. They decreased efforts to protect trafficking victims and have not complied with international standards to eliminate trafficking. Government shelters are not equipped with necessary resources and personnel to assist victims of human trafficking. NGOs and other international organizations have taken the lead in fighting human trafficking domestically and abroad. Through international organizations, 3,500 Gambians were returned to their country from Libya alone.
United States Department of State. “2019 Traffickin in Persons Report: Gambia.” Accessed October 24, 2019. https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-trafficking-in-persons-report-2/gambia/.
“Africa :: Gambia, The — The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency.” Accessed October 24, 2019. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/ga.html.
Sanna Camara. “The Gambia Government’s Involvement in Trafficking – World Policy.” Accessed October 24, 2019. https://worldpolicy.org/2016/07/26/the-gambia-governments-involvement-in-trafficking/.
State, US Department of. “2019 Trafficking in Persons Report: Gambia.” https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-trafficking-in-persons-report-2/gambia/, June 20, 2019. https://www.ecoi.net/en/document/2010809.html.