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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                            

Republic of The Gambia

The Gambia has no confirmed mineral or natural resource deposits and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides.

Unemployment and underemployment rates remain extremely high; short-run economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, on continued technical assistance from the IMF and bilateral donors, and on expected growth in the construction sector. [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Gambia

The Gambia is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Within The Gambia, women and girls and, to a lesser extent, boys are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, in particular to meet the demand for European child sex tourists, as well as for domestic servitude. Anti-trafficking activists report that in the last few years commercial sexual exploitation of children has moved from large hotels to small guest houses and private homes as a result of large hotels' enforcement of a voluntary code of conduct against child sex tourism. Boys are trafficked within the country for forced begging by religious teachers and for street vending. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the Gambia. Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


GHANA-GAMBIA: Sex slave children trafficked by Ghanaian fishermen

Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Banjul, 26 February 2004

[accessed 24 February 2015]

According to the Gambian National Intelligence Agency, the girls were smuggled into the country without official papers to work as sex slaves for their Ghanaian masters. Ceesay confirmed this. She said the girls were forced to "satisfy the sexual desires of older men" and some were working full-time as prostitutes within the 5,000-strong Ghanaian community.

The Gambian authorities said that the girls were also made to work long hours smoking fish and selling gari, a popular Ghanaian staple made from cassava. Some boys smuggled into the Gambia were made to work as fishermen. Meanwhile, their masters' own children went to school and had all their usual domestic chores, like washing their school uniforms and even cleaning their shoes, done for them by the trafficked children. The trafficked children told Gambian officials they had been forbidden to contact their parents at home.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: The Gambia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 7 June 2021]


The constitution and law prohibit all forms of forced or compulsory labor, including that of children, but the government did not effectively enforce the law.

Women and children were subjected to forced labor primarily for domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation.


Child labor occurred primarily in the informal sector and was largely unregulated. Rising school fees combined with stagnating incomes prevented some families from sending their children to school, contributing to the vulnerability of children to child labor. Additionally, many children completed nine years of compulsory schooling at age 14, rendering them vulnerable to child labor. In urban areas some children worked as street vendors, domestic laborers, or taxi and bus assistants. There were instances of children begging on the streets, including cases of forced begging. Children between ages 14 and 17 also worked in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, tailoring, and auto repair. Children in rural areas worked on family farms, often under hazardous conditions.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Enforcement of labor laws is inconsistent. Women enjoy less access to higher education, justice, and employment than men. Although child labor and forced labor are illegal, some women and children are subject to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and forced begging. The government has recently made an increased effort to address human trafficking, including by training security officials and border guards to identify victims, and by providing better services to those identified. However, the impact of these changes has been modest.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 17 April 2019]

[accessed 27 April 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 433]

In The Gambia, children are internally trafficked and subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and domestic work.  Girls and boys from West African countries, including Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in The Gambia. (3; 4) Tourists from Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and Canada also subject children to commercial sexual exploitation in brothels and motels in tourist areas. (14; 3)

In The Gambia, it is a common practice to send boys to receive education from Koranic teachers, or marabouts, who sometimes force Koranic students, or almudus, to beg in the streets for money and food and conduct street vending. (14) However, a source indicated that reported incidents had reduced during the year. (15).

Gambia to Sign Agreement On Child Trafficking

International Center on Child Labor and Education ICCLE, Youth Network for Children's Rights YNCR, August 2005

CAUTION … This link may pose a threat to your PC …

[accessed 11 November 2010]

The problem of trafficking in children in The Gambia is underreported and this can be attributed to lack of awareness of the general public of what trafficking is, how it is done, mode/type and who are involved. The first case of child trafficking that was reported to the Department of Social Welfare was the Ghana Town case in 2004, in which twelve identified children were trafficked from Ghana to The Gambia.

High human trafficking profits increases practice in Ghana

Ghana News Agency GNA, 20 Feb 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Statistics from the United Nationa's Children's Fund (UNICEF) indicated that human trafficking was rated the World's third most profitable illicit business venture apart from drugs and prostitution. Subsequently, the number of children trafficked from Afram Plains in the Eastern, Yeji in the Brong Ahafo, and Atitekpo in the Volta Regions countries such as The Gambia and Côte d'Ivoire in particular, for hazardous occupation had increased.

Gambia Makes More Progress in Monitoring Human Trafficking

Alieu Badara Mansaray, The Daily Observer (Banjul), Washington DC, 17 January 2007

[accessed 16 July 2013]

[accessed 27 April 2020]

The government did even better in opening a shelter in Banjul that can accommodates 48 persons and establish a hotline. They also established a hotline for reporting trafficking crimes and information centre for victims. Cracking down on nine cases of trafficking in persons, the government with Child Protection Alliance (CPA-an NGO umbrella group) conducted sensitisation programmes.

Human Trafficking, A  Serious Crime - Says Dr Henry Carrol

Alhagie Mbye & Yusupha Jallow, The Point Newspaper, 20 December 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

According to Dr Carrol, as far as the Laws of The Gambia are concerned, there is presently no law on our Statute Books which prohibits the trafficking of adult persons.  He therefore expressed the urgent need for the Gambia Government to expeditiously pass the required legislation in the National Assembly, with a certificate of urgency, to combat this fast growing menace.

The State of Gambian Children

Ejatou Jallow, The Independent (Banjul), April 2, 2004

[accessed 30 August 2012]

[accessed 27 April 2020]

The Gambian child today like many other children on the African continent is faced with so many difficulties such that it is very difficult to determine the extent of their predicament. Gambian children are faced with problems such as child labour, child trafficking, child exploitation, child sexual abuse to name a few.

Report For The WTO General Council Review Of The Trade Policies Of Gambia [PDF]

International confederation of Free Trade Unions ICFTU, Geneva, 4 & 6 February 2004

[accessed 8 September 2014]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - Gambia has ratified the Convention on the Abolition of Forced Labour and the Convention on Forced Labour. Forced labour exists such as forced prostitution (trafficking of women and girls) and forced domestic labour by trafficked girls.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2001

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 12 October 2001

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 3 February 2019]

[62] In light of the current economic situation and the increasing number of school drop-outs, the Committee is concerned about the large number of children engaged in labor and the lack of information and adequate data on the situation of child labor and economic exploitation within the State party. The Committee also notes with concern that there is no legal minimum age for employment in accordance with ILO Convention No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment. Grave concern is expressed about the increasing number of child laborers, including domestic servants.

The Protection Project - The Gambia [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[Last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Nigerian girls have been lured to The Gambia with promises of legitimate jobs, but instead the girls end up working in bars and are forced to provide sexual services to customers. Children are taken from Senegal and Sierra Leone and are used as domestic servants or sex slaves.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - Most trafficking victims were forced into prostitution and/or begging; a few became domestic servants. Trafficking victims mostly came from conflict-ravaged countries, such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. Victims from Senegal, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone told CPA that foreign residents obtained permission from their home country families to employ them as bar waitresses or domestic maids. After their arrival the local employers informed them their duties entailed commercial sex work.

The Department of Labor's 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Child trafficking is also a problem. As a transit and destination country, the Gambia is a transfer point where children are trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic and commercial labor. Most children are seized from rural areas and moved to urban centers. Many, ultimately, are trafficked to Europe or South America where they are exploited by the pornography industry.

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