Apr 16, 2008, 7:05 AM
Child sex tourism is an awful act that needs public attention in order to seriously address it.
Tourism for the purpose of engaging in the prostitution of children that is commercially facilitated by child sexual abuse must be strictly avoided by visitors coming into the country.
Despite many efforts by the government and rights groups, The Gambia is still a vulnerable target for unscrupulous visitors such as suspected or convicted paedophiles, who enter the country in search of a low-profile location to commit their crimes against children silently and with impunity
As this year’s tourist season is about to start, we have to be very vigilant and work towards addressing practices such as child sex tourism.
The commercial sexual exploitation of children is now becoming an international problem, to which this country is not immune.
The practice goes along with child prostitution, pornography, and sex trafficking.
Child sex tourism is a lucrative and ever-present practice, affecting an estimated two million children worldwide every year.
There is urgent need for the government and partners to continue fighting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in The Gambia.
While we are not trying to discourage any one from visiting The Smiling Coast, we must ensure that as a nation of believers our norms and values are adhered to, at all cost.
We must bring those who commit these crimes to justice, in the best interest of the girl-child.
We must realize and accept that the practice of child sex tourism can affect the economic, social, and moral integrity of our country.
Our girls who fall into such traps do endure the immediate and long-term emotional, psychological, and physical impact of sexual exploitation.
Knowing fully that children are more vulnerable to HIV and other STDs, we must protect them, guide and counsel them in order for them to resist child sex tourists.
We, therefore, call on the authorities to be very vigilant, and not to compromise on the values and norms of this our beautiful country, and to Say No to Child Sex Tourism.