By Momodou Darboe
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said despite the lack of evidence that the dozens of stranded Gambians in Lebanon have been trafficked into servitude, the ministry is going at full stretch to ensure their home-return.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Saikou Ceesay on Tuesday told The Standard that the Gambia government has so far no evidence to strengthen claims that the over 45 stranded Gambians, mostly ladies have been sold into slavery in Lebanon.
Recently, chilling reports have emerged from Lebanon about the trafficking, enslavement and mistreatment of Gambians in that country.
And the Gambia government said it is aware of the plight of the stranded citizens.
“Government is aware of their plight and of course coming up with solutions,” foreign ministry spokesperson said.
He added: “We don’t have any evidence to substantiate claims that they [stranded Gambians] were trafficked. We didn’t receive any evidence from NATTIP to buttress this. However, we are working on engaging NATTIP to investigate allegations regarding trafficking, enslavement and mistreatment.”
According to Ceesay, foreign ministry is also in touch with Gambia’s honorary consul in Beirut to help facilitate their return but could not say when.
“We cannot give specific dates and time for their repatriation because you can see even Senegal that arranged flight for their citizens, stranded in the same country as ours, is not taking care of their citizens’ tickets. They [Senegalese nationals] are buying their own tickets,” he explained.