Child sex tourism booms in Gambia – UNICEF

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A recent study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has identified Gambia as one of Africa’s top destinations for child sex tourism.

It said on Tuesday in Banjul that poverty, corruption, and weak law enforcement, has undermined the government’s efforts to protect children from abuse.

It noted that hundreds of girls and boys are sexually exploited in the country, where every second person lives on little more than a dollar a day.

UNICEF accused some parents of trusting tourists for financial assistance, while the study revealed that others turn a blind eye to the sexual exploitation of their children to earn extra income.

Sheriff Manneh, an officer with the Tourism Security Unit in Banjul, which was formed specifically to focus on curbing sex tourism, confirmed that in West Africa, Gambia remained the main destination for child sex tourism.

He noted that yearly more than 150,000 people visit Gambia which is only a short flight from Europe.

“Most tourists come from Britain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany.

Omar Jarjue, a tour guide in Kololi disclosed that many tourists are coming for only that reason, to have sex with children.

“We see it happening every day. It has become a normal thing.

“As child sex tourism is more and more heavily policed in Asian countries like Thailand and Cambodia, lesser known destinations like Gambia are gaining in popularity,” he said.

The Child Protection Alliance (CPA), an umbrella body of about 40 local non-profit organisations, opened up that sex tourists bluntly offer poverty-stricken parents money for their children.

It said while others befriend children who sell food and drinks on beaches.

CPA said the government has stepped in and reformed several laws to curb child sex tourism.

It said that a “Sexual Offences Act and a Responsible Tourism Policy” are meant to protect children.

It said that in 2014, the National Assembly signed …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper