PRESS RELEASE: Gambia Achieves Moderate Advancement in Child Labor Report, Work to Address Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Still Needed

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EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Banjul, The Gambia

For Immediate Release​​​ Kathryn Edwards, Public Affairs Officer, 439-2856          

September 30, 2020​​​​​                

PRESS RELEASE: Gambia Achieves Moderate Advancement in Child Labor Report, Work to Address Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Still Needed

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) released the 2019 edition of its Annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report (TDA Report) and found that The Gambia made advancement in combatting child labor.

The Report highlights the moderate advancement The Gambia made in 2019 to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. During the reporting year, the government signed the UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict. The government also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the United Arab Emirates to put in place formal protections for Gambian workers employed in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP) held trainings, some in conjunction with local and international partners, for government officials at border posts, The Gambia Police, travel agencies, airlines, and the Tourism Security Unit, on trafficking in persons’ issues.

However, the Report found that children in The Gambia still engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking, and in forced begging. The Report highlights that gaps in the law remain, including children starting an apprenticeship in the informal sector at the age of 12, an age below the compulsory education age of 16. It indicates that the scope of social programs is insufficient to fully address the extent of the problem, as programs do not reach all children working in agriculture and domestic work, or those vulnerable to human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, and street work.

The Report also highlights that girls and boys from other West African countries are allegedly trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation from their countries into The Gambia.  It indicates that tourists also allegedly subject children to commercial sexual exploitation in tourist areas, as well as in private homes.

The United States Government is committed to working with the government and people of The Gambia, in coordination with other international partners, to address the scourge of child exploitation. We urge the government of The Gambia to strengthen efforts to combat the worst forms of child labor and protect those vulnerable to human trafficking in the soonest possible timeframe.

The TDA Report includes an assessment of government actions to advance efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Gambia is among 131 countries, non-independent countries, and territories profiled in this Report.

The full Trafficking in Persons report, including The Gambia country narrative, can be found online at:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/resources/reports/child-labor.

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