The perilous back way journey to Europe has resumed in The Gambia, as there is massive exodus of Gambian youths from the impoverished West African nation, Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The Gambian youths are running away from economic hardship, and massive unemployment in the country, hence they ventured into such a deadly journey through the Mediterranean sea.
The smugglers are operating in The Gambia and Senegal. They charged their customers between $1,500 and $2,000 dollars to traffic them to Italy and Spain.
Some of the boats would drown, killing hundreds on sea, while very few of them would make it to Europe. Italian and Spanish navies would occasionally come to the rescue of the drowning boats.
According to reliable sources, some Gambian youths, who recently traveled through the back way, had made it safely it to Europe. The youths were trafficked by Gambian smugglers.
The human trafficking, halted following the change of government in December of 2016. Gambians were optimistic for what they called “brighter days under Barrow’s rule” But it appears that, that hoped has been dashed away.
The exportation of its unemployed youths to Europe through illegal migration, has resumed. Families have reported about their kids resettling to Europe the illegal migration.
The Barrow government has been criticized for not creating job opportunities for the country’s youths. The transition government that was expected to initiate meaningful governance reforms has collapsed with political agendas dominating its existence.
President Barrow has fired his Coalition colleagues and is running a government dominated by former Jammeh enablers. He has also formed his own political party called the National People’s Party (NPP).
Gambians are going to the polls in 2021 to elect a Post President. But in the meantime, there is mass exodus of its youths to Europe despite the Corona Virus pandemic.
The US government in its 2020 human trafficking report ranked The Gambia to tier2. The report notes that the Government of The Gambia is making significant efforts in this important area but does not yet fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
The US report also says despite the government’s efforts to fight human trafficking, The Gambian has been found wanting in bringing human traffickers to book
“Despite these achievements, the government did not convict a trafficker for the third consecutive year, victim services remained inadequate overall, and some law enforcement officers allegedly requested bribes to register trafficking complaints,” the report stated.
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, said the report, a country can remain at Tier 2 Watch List for only two years and must address identified deficiencies to progress fully to Tier 2 within that time or be automatically downgraded to Tier 3.
“The annual rating cycle begins on April 1 and ends on March 31. We encourage the Gambian Government to expand on the good work undertaken over the past year and redouble efforts in the following critical areas: direct and fund law enforcement to investigate all reported trafficking cases, including those brought forward by civil society; investigate those accused of taking bribes to do their duty under the laws of The Gambia; increase efforts to vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, including allegations of child sex tourism; cease using extra-judicial or administrative remedies to resolve human trafficking cases; develop and train government officials on comprehensive standard procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims, including among people in commercial sex and other vulnerable groups,” said the report.
In December of 2019, over 60 Gambian migrants died when their boat capsized in Mauritanian waters. The remains of the migrants were buried in Mauritania. They were trafficked from the Coastal fishing town of Barra, in the North Bank Region of The Gambia.
The boat owner and co were charged. Their case has been dragging close a year.
The Barra boat accident case was first heard by the Essau magistrates’ court. It was later moved to the High court in Banjul.
Officials in Banjul could not be reached for comment at press time.