Speaking in an exclusive with The Standard in his Cape Point offices in Bakau, the former area councillor and chairman of Child Protection Alliance Committee (CPA) in Bakau said: “The Gambia tourism industry has already seen a trend that is going to make us lose our young boys and our teenage girls. Here you see an old woman who is in her eighties with a young man aged 20 to 25 years. On the other side you see an old man who is in his eighties and with a girl aged 16 or maybe 17 years going hand in hand. For example, if this old man was an African he would have no chance of dating a 16 year old or so why a white man? Is it because of poverty? I think these are some of the things we would like the government to take a step on. The Gambia is a democratic country but sometimes you have to overstep democracy to get what you want for your people”.
Rambo said the issue is a national concern that requires a national debate in order to enlighten vulnerable young people.
“Most of these teenagers have this idea of going to Europe together with those paedophiles and at the end of the day things end up real bad. How long must this trend continue? How can you marry someone who has been in bed with ten old guys? It does not tell well. I think government should look into this and if possible make it a national debate on the TV. People need to be sensitised. They need to know what is actually going on in the TDA”.
Asked what efforts are being taken by CPA to combatting the menace of child sex tourism, Rambo said: “We [CPA] are on alert at all times. We are watching out for paedophiles and tourists coming for child sex. We are three in number and are working undercover in other to expose them.”
Reacting to Rambo’s statements, Bubacarr Cham, a tour guide and a ‘bumster’ in Bakau said sex tourism is a matter of personal choice for the people involved, adding that not all such relations are ill-motivated: “Islam has said that if a person is older than you, you can still marry him or her. Love is love. You do not have to discriminate based on age, you just love. Some white tourists come in search of love, not to see our beautiful sunshine or visit our sacred places. It does not matter if they are old or young. To me, happiness is all that matters. If you are happy with an old woman, fine. If you are happy with a young guy, then fine.” Lamin Ceesay, a tour guide expressed similar sentiments
By Alagie Manneh]]>