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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Gambia escapes US sanction list

By Mustapha Darboe

The United States Trafficking in Persons Report, TIP, for the year 2017 has placed The Gambia on Tier 2 watch list, one step better than last year’s ranking, when the country became very close to attracting possible sanctions by the then president Barrack Obama.

 
The US TIP ranks countries in terms of their efforts in combating human trafficking to hold governments accountable for gaps in protecting the human rights of their citizens and prosecuting violations.
This year’s report on Gambia also states that the Government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.
“The government made key achievements during the reporting period; therefore, The Gambia was upgraded to Tier 2 Watch List,” the report said yesterday.

 
It further reported that The Gambia’s achievements included “identifying and providing services to the first internal trafficking victims identified in four years, training law enforcement and border officials on identifying and referring cases of trafficking for investigation, and convicting and sentencing one trafficker to life imprisonment— its first reported conviction for a trafficking-related offense in four years”.
However, the report stated that The Gambia does not have “formal procedures to identify trafficking victims and refer them to care”.

 
It also said the country does not complete any prosecutions or secure any convictions under the amended 2007 Trafficking in Persons Act, even though NGOs brought cases of child sex trafficking to law enforcements’ attention; nor did it prosecute or convict any complicit officials.
It added that the Gambia National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP) remained without sufficient funding and resources to coordinate inter-ministerial anti-trafficking efforts and investigate trafficking offenses nationwide.

 
Countries are assigned tiered rankings from Tier 1 – meaning full compliance with minimum standards of the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) – to Tier 3, which identifies countries not in compliance and making no effort to do so.
No African nation is listed in the Tier 1 group, while 12 of them, including Burundi and South Sudan, are listed in the Tier 3 group.

 
In between is Tier 2, which acknowledges national efforts to improve despite failing to achieve Tier 1 minimums, and the Tier 2 Watch List, which lists countries in that group but with additional red flags on human trafficking.
Tier 3 status means a country may be subject to sanctions that affect trade status, development aid and other consequences.

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