We are deeply troubled by the Gambia government’s inaction in addressing the dire conditions of hundreds of Gambian women stranded across several countries in the Middle East. Forced by the lack of opportunities at home, our sisters fell prey to human traffickers in The Gambia who lured them into Middle East countries with the promise of better paid Jobs to help their poor families. Unfortunately, a lot of confirmed reports of our Gambian sisters being enslaved to their employers, working for them without pay, being raped, jailed, or even killed have reached out to the Government of The Gambia for the past years.
We are gravely concerned that up to now, the Government of The Gambia is doing little, if anything, to help bring these Gambian women back home. Freeing our Gambian sisters from slavery and harsh conditions of survival in the Middle East is paramount, especially considering the Global Pandemic of the coronavirus.
According to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, The Government of The Gambia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, resulting to The Gambia being downgraded to Tier 3.
We demand that the Government of The Gambia immediately
- Activate all available diplomatic avenues and resources to spot, localize and identify all Gambian women purposely in the Middle East for labor
- Repatriate all our Gambian sisters stranded in every country of the Middle East wishing to come back home. The President’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the full weight of our diplomatic resources should leave no stones unturned to protect the lives and welfare of Gambians abroad.
- Engage existing Humanitarian and Migration organizations, Inter-government organizations and Foreign Governments to help in bringing our sisters home
- More seriously address human trafficking by increasing efforts to vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers and dismantle its networks in The Gambia and strongly punish human traffickers operating in our country
- Seriously address the challenge of youth’s unemployment and create a conducive environment for Gambian youths so they are no longer forced/lured into these perilous journeys by the desperation for opportunities.