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2 Nigerians arrested for trafficking to be charged

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The Guardian Intelligence Investigative Platform has been reliably informed that the two Nigerian nationals arrested for alleged sex trafficking a few weeks ago will be charged this week. Jenniver and Viviane were arrested by the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP) for alleged trafficking of minors from Nigeria. The arrest came following an investigation launched by a new investigative outfit, The Guardian Intelligence Investigative Platform. The investigation focusing on sex trafficking was launched a few weeks ago following reports of massive trafficking of young girls from Nigeria and other West African countries by a gang of notorious traffickers. The victims are usually promised good jobs and better lives in The Gambia. Most of the girls who spoke to The Guardian said they accepted the offers because they were desperate to acquire jobs to be able to help their families.

“You know things are not easy in Nigeria and there is high unemployment, so when they offered me a restaurant job, I was so excited and accepted it without hesitation, but a few days after I arrived in the Gambia, I was introduced to the shock of my life (sex work), which was never in my plans, but I had to do it because I don’t have a choice,” one of the girls told The Guardian on the basis of anonymity for safety reasons.

The madams have since admitted to bringing the girls to The Gambia but denied the fact that the girls didn’t know they were coming to trade in sex.

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According to Marian, a leading figure in the fight against sex trafficking in The Gambia, the reporting of sex trafficking cases has been unprecedented over the past months and years, but nothing has come out of it.

Following the reported arrest of the madams, several activists fighting against trafficking have reached out to The Guardian to express their concerns that the girls might not have justice.

“I am tired of reporting cases of sex trafficking at Naatip because the moment the madams are bailed, nothing happens again,” one of the activists told The Guardian.

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She added: “I am not sure whether they bribed their way out, but it is frustrating that none of my cases were prosecuted.”

However, a highly placed source at Naatip has informed this medium that the madams will be charged and taken to court.

There is no doubt about that,” the source added. The source said the cases of Jenniver and Viviane will be treated differently.

The Guardian contacted one of the leading investigators at Naatip, one Mr Faal, to react to some of these allegations, but he advised that any request for an interview should be channelled through Naatip.

Mr Faal was informed that The Guardian has collected enough credible digital and physical evidence to charge and prosecute the two women, and therefore, there should be no reason why they should not be held accountable and be taken through due process.

“We will see this case through to make sure that Naatip does the job that taxpayers are paying them to do; otherwise, we will open an investigation to see why these two women were not charged and taken through due process. If there’s evidence that Naatip officers accepted bribes to protect these traffickers, then we will hand over the case to the appropriate authorities to hold them accountable, and if the government doesn’t do their job to hold Naatip officers accountable for taking bribes, then we will open another door for former PS Bamba Banja, who was prosecuted and sent to prison for accepting bribes to be released,” The Guardian’s director stated.

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