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‘Gambia’s anti-trafficking agency in dire need of training’

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Gambia’s anti-trafficking agency is underequipped to combat trafficking in the country, said a United Nations expert on Tuesday.

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, has met journalists at the UN House on Tuesday after a 9-day tour in the country.

Gambia backslides in the US Trafficking in Persons report from tier 2 watchlist in 2018 to tier 3 in 2019. The 2019 TIP report said the Gambia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking of people including children and is not making significant efforts to do so.

In the whole of 2018 and 2019, Gambia did not prosecute a single trafficker despite the country being a major source and destination for trafficking victims, according to TIP.

“The government decreased efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims. The government identified and referred four sex trafficking victims to care—the lowest number of identified victims in five years—compared with identifying and referring 91 potential trafficking victims to care the previous reporting period,” said 2019 US TIP.

Boer-Buquicchio said Gambia will begin to make gains against trafficking if it empowers the National Agency Against Trafficking in Person.

“I have met the people who are in-charge of the Trafficking Unit and they need training to have skilled investigators. The investigation Unit is a very small unit and they are in dire need of further training so that they are appropriately prepared for preparing the whole file of the prosecution department because if that is not done properly at that level the risk that the traffickers evades justice is very likely,” said the UN expert.

Boer-Buquicchio said the country has good anti-trafficking laws but implementation is grossly inadequate.

“Of course, I have not seen them first hand begging but the Quranic school that I visited, the living and sanitary conditions are totally inadequate. That is something where the government needs to focus on…,” said Boer-Buquicchio.

For more on trafficking in Gambia, click this link…

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