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Gov’t refutes The Sun’s ‘pedophilia’ article about Gambia

Feb 19, 2020, 1:35 PM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

Gambian authorities have strongly refuted a publication by one of the leading U.K. online newspapers - The Sun, which recently published an article about paedophile in The Gambia.

The U.K. online newspaper recently ran an article headlined: “Inside ‘pedo paradise’ The Gambia, where sex beats are buying African children and toddlers to rape.”

In the said article published on 16 January 2020 in England, the newspaper reported that “Gambian children are being sold to British paedophiles for as little as £2 (two pounds) equivalent to D132 (one hundred and thirty-two Dalasis) by their desperate parents.”

The author further in the article indicated that “sex tourism is already huge in The Gambia as some bars are like brothels” and that more children are lured into prostitution to feed their families.

Reacting to this damning report about The Gambia, government through the ministries of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Tourism and Culture and Information and Communication Infrastructure recently convened a press confab to dispute the said article, which according to authorities, is malicious and based on misinformation and mischaracterisation of the facts.

Fatou Kinteh, minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, strongly refuted and challenged the authenticity of the said article published in one of the leading newspapers in the U.K.

 “The government of The Gambia as a State party to various international treaties, most notably the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child, the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, has invested heavily in the promotion and protection of the rights against children in The Gambia,” she said.

The Children’s Act 2005, she went on, protects all children in The Gambia and places a duty on everyone to report to either the Police or Department of Social Welfare any case of child abuse or violations of the right of any child that he or she is aware of.

According to her, the act expressly prohibits sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child in any form or to keep a brothel or allow a child to be in brothels, adding that, the Tourism Offences Act strictly prohibits unlawful sexual advances towards a child, procurement of a child for sex, child pornography and indecent acts by tourists among other offences.

“The government through the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare together with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has taken a firm stand against child sex tourism in the country and measures are in place to protect children most especially in the tourism sector,” she said

Minister Kinteh noted that the government of The Gambia is informing the general public that there is zero tolerance for child abuse or child exploitation and any person found wanting will face the full force of the law.

Also speaking, Hamat N.K. Bah, the minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said after the said publication, the government is doing everything possible to prove that the article is not only malicious but also unfounded.

“The article was written and published just to destroy the country. Investigations are ongoing to get to the bottom of it. We have an open press in the country and our records are clear but we want responsible journalists and not people who are out to destroy a country that is emerging from 22 years of dictatorship,” he said.

According to him, they have fought so much to rebuild the status of The Gambia after 22 years of dictatorship, and that they (government) will not take such allegations and maligning article lightly.

Minister Bah indicated that they will not allow journalists from foreign countries to write maliciously and damning articles just to tarnish the image of The Gambia.

“We will follow the due process of law to do what is right in protecting this country, the integrity of Gambians and the image of Gambia at every level.