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City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Tourism minister lambasts opportunistic NGOs

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Benjamin Roberts described as ‘unfortunate’, circumstances in which some ‘unscrupulous’ non-governmental organisations over-exaggerate the challenges and degree of preponderance of child sex tourism in particular with the objective of receiving more funding from international organisations. 

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 “I need not remind ourselves of the unfortunate circumstances in which some unscrupulous non-governmental organisations have over-exaggerated the challenges and degree of preponderance of child sex tourism in some countries with the sole objective of receiving increased funding from international organisations concerned with this menace for selfish and personal gains whilst spending meager sums of the received funding towards addressing the challenges associated with child sex tourism. I want to believe that in The Gambia we are guided by the ethics of responsibility,” he said.

Mr Roberts was speaking on Thursday during a one-day forum on research findings on child sex tourism in The Gambia, organised by the Child Protection Alliance in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and the Gambia Tourism Board with funding from Ecpat Netherlands.

He added: “Whilst we recognise the challenges inherent in this social vices and which is very related to tourism, I would equally urge that we pursue our overriding objective of containing this challenge in a manner that is seen to be responsible. Of pertinent importance is the need to strategise on the challenges of child sex tourism and I must applaud the CPA, Unicef, and Ecpat for taking the lead in conducting the study entitled, ‘Assessment of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Related to Tourism and Reporting Mechanisms in The Gambia.’ The government also recognises the need to strategise in efforts to address the challenges besetting the tourism industry, of which child sex tourism is a part.

“To address the challenge with sex tourism, the strategic action points feature prominently on the  tourism and culture industry strategic plan currently being developed by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in consultation with the tourism stakeholders:   institutionalisation of a 24-hour tribunal court for adjudication of cases relating to tourism offences, outright control on prostitution, review of the GTBoard regulations to address regulation gaps, of which more practical regulations are earmarked for prevention and minimisation of child sex tourism and sex tourism offences, engagement with the Tourism Select Committee  of the National Assembly for enhanced engagement with the electorate on challenges of this social vice, engagement with security outfits to support the Tourism Security Unit with intelligence as it relates to expunging the networks engaged in the propagation of sex tourism and child sex abuse, and close down brothels and accommodation outfits where such vices happen.”

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