By Ndey Sowe
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has organized two days of training on trafficking in persons for Officers of the Tourism Security Unit, with a view to support national efforts to combat this phenomenon in the country.
The training which is funded by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) of the Government of the United States, aims to advance counter-trafficking efforts especially in areas with high tourism.
The ongoing training which is held at a local Hotel at Senegambia from the 28th to 29th June 2021, is in partnership with the Gambia Tourism Board (GT Board), coordinated by the National Agency Against Trafficking in Person (NAATIP).
Stepen Matete, IOM’s Program Officer said trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.
“Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and across borders,” he remarked; that almost every country in the world with the Gambia included, is affected by trafficking whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination; that the Gambia exhibits three enlisted elements as a source, transit point and destination for victims of trafficking.
Mr. Matete noted that inter-connectedness that brings people closer and of which tourism and travel are integrally part of, is also extremely vulnerable to the predations of organized criminal syndicates who want to benefit from the clandestine criminal business of human trafficking.
Ousman G.A. Kebbeh, Manager, Public Relations and Communication at the GT Board, said the training will help them as officers, to bring traffickers to justice.
“Working with NAATIP, Gambia Police Force and the prosecution Unit and with all the evidence available, will help in convicting offenders. We will continue to work with NAATIP, IOM and all stakeholders to fight against criminals who are engaged in trafficking in persons,” he said.
Tulai Jawara, the Executive Director for NAATIP, said trafficking in persons is a difficult task which demands for law enforcement officers especially the tourism security unit, to properly identify the problem and punish offenders. She said trafficking in persons comes in different forms such as forced labour, child labour, domestic servitude, sexual slavery, amongst other; that the most two common forms of trafficking in persons in the Gambia is Gambians going to Middle East to work as domestic servants, and reported cases of Nigerian nationals coming into the Gambia to work as sex workers after being deceived by the traffickers.
While urging for concerted efforts to fight and eradicate the menace of modern-day slavery, Ms. Jawara called on the tourism security unit to properly identify the problem, be vigilant and help the victims particularly children.