By Awa Macalo
The Saama Kairo Federation has announced at a consultative forum with stakeholders that it intends to launch a fight against trafficking in persons in The Gambia.
The announcement came after it secured a D2.6 million funding from the US government partnering the International Organisation for Migration through ChildFund.
The three-month project will sensitise Gambians on the ill effects of TIP and the methodologies used by perpetrators to lure persons into it. Community outreach programmes, radio sensitisations and the employment of village singers to amplify messages on trafficking in persons are among some of the plans the federation intends to fight the menace.
The forum held at the federation’s head offices in Brikama brought together representatives from regions across the country, who were tasked to identify hotspots for trafficking in persons in The Gambia.
Addressing the meeting, Nfamara Darboe, the federation’s sponsorship and programme director, said trafficking in persons has become a major signal of danger that needs urgent remedy.
“People have been lured and deceived by perpetrators. Trafficking in persons ‘is a co-component of ChildFund’s work. We do everything within our reach to ensure that within the age of zero to 24 do not fall victim of trafficking,” he said.
He said that trafficking is more complicated compared to rape and other forms of human rights abuses. He said this is because in most cases victims unknowingly consented to trafficking. “That makes it a critical situation. But we are ready to make sure perpetrators involved in this ungodly act are put to justice.”
Seedy Bojang, a representative of the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (Naatip), in his remarks, said that the agency, over the years, has been “a strong fighter” of trafficking in persons in The Gambia.
“Mostly, people that fall victims of trafficking are youth, since most people said that they want to leave the country for greener pastures. They end up falling in the wrong hands of traffickers, they [are] used [by] them as slaves, servants, and even sex slaves.”
He said even in communities in The Gambia, perpetrators are engaged in the trafficking of youths from rural to urban areas.
“[The perpetrators] lie to the desperate parents [of these youths that] they have a job offer but end up introducing them to prostitution,” he narrated.
Lamin Fatty, programme officer, Saama Kairo Federation, promised his organisation will, by every means necessary fight for the end of trafficking in persons in The Gambia.
“Through this project,” he said, “we will be able to raise more awareness, sensitise parents and guardians and even youths on the ways perpetrators use to convince them in becoming victims of trafficking.”