Human Rights lawyer, Assan Martin, has called on Gambian authorities to investigate and prosecute the criminal networks involved in human trafficking.
“There must be very serious consequences for human traffickers,” he told this medium in an exclusive interview while emphasizing the need for gov’t to explore possible legal avenues that would help victims to get redress.
Up to 36 victims of human trafficking are currently stranded in Lebanon. Their case highlighted the cruelty of the people profiting from trafficking in persons (TIP). Gambia grov’t has expressed its willigness to come to their aid as calls intensify for a probe to be launched into a matter that has been recurrent for more than two decades.
Lawyer Martin deplored the fact that legal loopholes continues to leave domestic workers to the mercy of traffickers and smugglers.
“The market needs to be regulated so that it will have some legal bearings,” he added. “We are appealing for gov’t to get involved, and make sure this situation is addressed.”
Local news outlets have intermittently been highlighting stories of domestic workers in the Middle East being subjected to degrading, and dehumanizing treatment.
As massive efforts are being put up to repatriate the women stranded in Lebanon, Gambia’s leading human rights lawyer said the Ministry of Foreign should have a reliable database of Gambian domestic workers scattered across the Middle East and Arabic Peninsula.
“The combination of gross human rights violations and violence constitue a disturbing reality domestic workers have to deal with,” he added.
The tiny West African nation was recently upgraded to Tier2 by US Department of State in its 2020 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report.
US gov’t gave a thumb up to Gambia gov’t, the National Agency Against Trafficking In Persons (NAATIP), law enforcement and justice sector entities in their efforts to combat trafficking.
While acknowledging the ‘modest avancements’ in the areas of increaased investigations, identifying more trafficking victims etc, the US Dept warned that these efforts are yet “to meet the minimum standards for élimination of trafficking.”
Meanwhile, multiple attempts were made by this reporter to get the perspective of NAATIP Executive Director Tulai Jawara Ceesay and the Sweden-based Gambian philanthropist Lovette Jallow on this issue. But our information requests were met with a ‘resounding silence.’
Written by Abdoulie John
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