By Mafugi Ceesay
The Gambian diplomatic mission in Lebanon is working on repatriating at least 45 Gambians in that country, majority of whom are ladies, The Standard has been told.
Gambia’s Consul General in Lebanon, Khalid Hammoud, said the mission is currently facilitating the return of the Gambians who escaped from captivity from their employers. He reported that the escapees are without documentation as they have left behind their passports with their employers.
“Currently, we have to issue consular cards for them to be freely moving around town without having any trouble until the day they return home when we will issue them with emergency passports,” he explained.
Consul Hammoud narrated that the mission is beset with problems relating to undocumented Gambians in Lebanon. He explained that these Gambians travelled to the country and were dumped in the hands of Lebanese who used them as domestic servants.
In a related development, the Gambian consular service officials have been working on locating a certain Amie who was reportedly sold into slavery in Lebanon by a Gambian currently domiciled in Germany.
Consul Hammoud informed The Standard that he received a phone call from Amie but the communication wasn’t effective because, according to him, she was speaking in a low voice probably out of fear of being overheard by someone.
“I received a call from Amie the other evening but I could not communicate much with her because she said she could not communicate at that time. She said she could only talk later in the night when her owner would be asleep. But I am doing everything possible to locate her and as soon as this is done, I would liase with the immigration authorities to also locate her boss.”
Gambians living in Lebanon are also said to be doing their utmost to facilitate her return to Banjul.
Alima Jasseh is among Gambians working to free Amie from captivity and according to her, Amie had told her that she was taken to Lebanon by a Gambian who abandoned her. Amie had reportedly told Alima that she was being held in a house fitted with CCTV cameras with all her communications strictly monitored.
“Amie wasn’t informed of this and was left stranded in the hands of a Lebanese upon her arrival in Lebanon. It is common among Gambians to be dumped in the hands of Lebanese who use them for domestic chores irrespective of academic qualification. Some of them end up prostituting themselves,” Ms Jasseh added.
“Amie told me in a phone conversation that she was brought to Lebanon by a Gambian lady who took her to Lebanon and left her in the custody of a Lebanese man and then left for Germany. And now, she is in here and not knowing what to do. She said her boss is not treating her badly. Right now, she can only communicate with people through Facebook Messenger,” she further explained.