Friday, January 22, 2021

Government Introduces Bill to Stiffen Penalties for Child Trafficking

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The Gambia Government has taken giant step to amend the Tourism Offences Act to incorporate a provision relating to trafficking and for connected matters.

The move seeks to eradicate child trafficking in the tourism sector, by amending section 13 of the Tourism Offences Principal Act

The move as alluded to by the Justice Minister, Dawda Jallow seeks to amend section 13 of the Principal Act, by substituting for the words “not less than one hundred thousand dalasi and imprisonment for a term not less than five years,” the words “not less than fifty thousand dalasi and not exceeding five hundred thousand dalasi in addition to life imprisonment.”

In another development, Minister Jallow also tabled the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2020 for amendment.

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The objective is to amend section 36 of the Principal Act in subsection 2 by inserting a new paragraph (d) as, “ensure that the rights of the complainants are not prejudiced by an out of Court settlement”.

Minister Jallow said: “These amendments are the first of its kind in Africa for being a trailblazer, for the recognition, observance and domestication of international obligations and commitments relating to Women’s right into domestic law.”

Lawmakers thumped up the Justice Minister for the initiative, as it aims to bring a total halt on trafficking in Children and related offences in the Tourism sector. They however, advised the Minister to change the title from Child trafficking to human trafficking to make it all inclusive.

While stressing that trafficking in person is inhuman, they also expressed concerns with the fine of D50 thousand in addition to life imprisonment, noting that a culprit may not be willing to pay the fine knowing fully that he or she will serve life imprisonment despite paying the 50 thousand dalasi fine.

The two Bills were referred to the Assembly Business Committee for committal to either a Committee or the Committee of the Whole House of the Assembly. Sitting continues today Monday 20th July 2020, at 10:00 am prompt.

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