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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Gov’t never abandoned the Gambian women in Lebanon’

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By Omar Bah

The Gambia Government said its role in the raging case of the stranded Gambian women in Lebanon is either down played or not fully understood.

The women on Monday asked the government to mind its business and leave them alone if it cannot facilitate their return.

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The angry women also blasted members of the public that are calling them names.

But a senior government official told The Standard Government has every intention to bring back the women and has been busy working on the administrative part of their case which if not worked out, would have prevented them from travelling out of that country.

“This costs the country over 23,000 dollars. The document they were asked to sign was an undertaking stating that they are the ones who decided to decline government’s offer to fly them since they said they have got a sponsor. However, Government did not abandon its role to protect her citizens and that is why we acted to save them from any possible legal problems because some of them allegedly fled from their employers while some overstayed their visas in addition to allegation of petty crimes. All these would have prevented them from leaving had the government not acted to secure a waiver from the Lebanese Government to enable them to travel back. So government had never abandoned them,” a senior government official told The Standard.

But according to the women in a recent social media protest, they have asked for help from the government but for nine months, they have been suffering in Lebanon and nobody helped them. “We then went on Facebook where we shared our video and Lovette Jallow came forward to help us to go back to The Gambia,” one of them said in a video seen by The Standard.

She added: “We came here for work, nobody came here for play, nobody came here for sex work. There is a lot of talk, everyone speaking their mind. We are tired. You should leave us alone. We now have someone who’s standing up for us. We didn’t come here for sex work.”

The women, at least 45 of them, are believed to have been trafficked to work in Lebanon on contract basis and claimed to have been subjected to all forms of inhumane treatment.

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