By Omar Bah
The US Department of Labor (DOL) has found Gambia among countries with significant progress in combating child labor in its 2019 Annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report (TDA Report).
A statement from the US Embassy in Banjul reads: “In 2019, The Gambia made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. During the reporting year, the government signed the UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict. The Government of the Gambia also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the United Arab Emirates to put in place formal protections for Gambian workers employed in the United Arab Emirates.”
“In addition, the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons held training, some in conjunction with local and international partners, for government officials at border posts, school-aged children, The Gambia Police, travel agencies, airlines, and the Tourism Security Unit, on trafficking in persons issues. However, children in The Gambia engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking, and in forced begging.
“Gaps in the law remain, including that children may commence an apprenticeship in the informal sector at the age of 12, an age below the compulsory education age of 16. Although the government has adopted various policies addressing human trafficking, research found no evidence of a policy on other worst forms of child labor. In addition, the scope of social programs is insufficient to fully address the extent of the problem, as programs do not reach all children working in agriculture and domestic work, or those vulnerable to human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, and street work,” the statement said.