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Tourism Security Unit trains on human trafficking

Dec 13, 2019, 2:13 PM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) - Gambia, Wednesday wrapped-up a three-day training for Tourism Security Unit (TSU) on Trafficking In Persons (TIP).

The ongoing TIP training at a local hotel in Kololi is being implemented by the IOM with funding from the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons.

The three-year project was designed at supporting national efforts to combat trafficking. And it forms part of the IOM’s efforts in engaging the Gambian tourism sector in efforts to identify and combat trafficking.

In his opening remarks, His Excellency Richard Carlton Paschal III, the ambassador of United States to The Gambia, thanked IOM for implementing the project and also for their support and sponsoring a series of events in the country.

He said The Gambia is a hospitable tourism country that welcomes people genuinely and as well shares culture.

The ambassador noted the importance of the organised trafficking in persons training which he said will help trainees learn about the concepts of TIP, identification and referral mechanisms among other aspects.

He emphasised the important role of tourism in the country, saying; “tourism is vital in The Gambia,” as it represents about 20% of the country’s GDP and provides livelihood income for thousands of Gambian citizens.

Also addressing the participants, Abdoullie Hydara, director general, Gambia Tourism Board, disclosed that the training is in line with the Gambia Master Plan document. He informed participants that The Gambia’s position at Tier 3 in terms of trafficking in persons, child protection and prevention, valuable migrant children at risk among others will be adequately discussed during the ongoing training.

For Gambia to successfully tackle the problem of TIP and child abuse, he suggested that a strong collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders including police, government and civil society organisations must be prioritised. “We thought it is necessary and urgent to partner and collaborate with IOM, U.S. Embassy and Gambia Police Force to rollout this training programme for officers of TSU and GTBoard,” he stated.

Representing the Department for Strategic Policy and Delivery (DSOPD) and the Office of the President, Ismaila Danso, director of Delivery, thanked all the relevant stakeholders for combating trafficking in persons in The Gambia.

He expressed delight on the training, which he said could not have come at a better time when the country has unfortunately been placed in Tier 3 from Tier 2 in the 2019 Human Trafficking Report.

He said trafficking in persons is a crime and human rights abuse. He therefore encouraged participants to be regular and attentive at the training as it is designed to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and refer victims of human trafficking in line with national legislation and international instruments.

Etinne Micallef, speaking on behalf of Fumiko Nagano, – chief of mission, IOM, disclosed that tourism brings people together, expands perspectives and horizons and also represents a powerful force for positive change.

Among other things, he said tourism helps to create jobs, fuel economic growth and sustain development. Furthermore the interconnectedness that brings people closer together, of which tourism and travel are integral parts, “is also extremely vulnerable to the predations of organised criminal syndicates who want to benefit from the clandestine criminal business of human trafficking.”

He therefore thanked the U.S. government for the utmost generosity which has truly allowed for continued support in enhancing national efforts to combat trafficking in persons in The Gambia.

Tulai Jawara, executive director, National Agency Against Trafficking In Person (NAATIP), gave a detailed background and dilated on the Trafficking In Persons Act which established National Agency Against Trafficking In Persons.