Oct 16, 2012, 10:10 AM
Child Protection Alliance (CPA), ECPACT International and YPP have launched a campaign called "Body Shop" to end trafficking of children and young people in The Gambia.
A petition was also signed by activists as part of the campaign, launched on 23 November at the CPA office in Fajara.
In his launching statement, Madi Jobarteh, CPA board chairperson, says the campaign is in three folds: to build the understanding of the public and stakeholders on child sex trafficking, to mobilise governments to protect children from commercial and sexual exploitation and to provide immediate relief to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
According to Mr Jobarteh, the campaign began in 2007 when ECPAT International began working on ‘Body Shop’ to serve as a global campaign to combating child sex trafficking.
He said the campaign seeks to create long-term changes by taking action against and combating sex trafficking.
"As we launch the campaign in The Gambia today it is clear that everyone has a role to play in combating child sex trafficking," he said, adding that the campaign places a major emphasis on the participation of children and young people.
The second year of the campaign would focus on mobilising governments to protect children from child sex trafficking, he said.
He added that the major highlight of the campaign was the signing of the petition that "indicates that an action has been taken, and it is addressed to the authorities".
Njundu Drammeh, CPA national coordinator, quoted a Unicef report that states that "The Gambia is a vulnerable target for unscrupulous visitors, such as suspected or convicted paedophiles who enter the country in search of low-profile locations to commit their crimes against children silently and with impunity."
The campaign also aims to raise awareness and funds for victims or those at risk of trafficking, he says.
Mr Drammeh said that since 2009 the campaign had gathered support in more than 40 countries worldwide including New York and Toronto where hundreds of people rallied to the cause with organised marches, while in Thailand, the ‘Body Shop customers wrote personal messages of support to the victims of trafficking at the ECPAT foundation shelter.
Almami Barrow, a youth motivator, in his remarks, said: "The body shop is an original natural and ethical beauty company that creates products using the finest natural ingredients sourced directly from communities all over the world."