She added that The Gambia is a state party to the planet protocol and has signed, as well as ratified the protocol to prevent suppression and to punish those involved in trafficking in persons especially women and children.
Part of the planet protocols, she said, also supplements the United Nations conventions against trans-national crime; the smuggling of migrants and also the smuggling of fire arms and ammunitions.
She described trafficking as the recruitment or harbouring, of the use of or threat, forced cohesion and other forms of abduction, deceiving a person or using that person to exploit him or her for the purposes of exploitation within and across national borders.
Stephen O. Matete, the IOM programme officer, said trafficking in persons is a serious crime and grave violation of human rights. He added that every year thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and across the borders.
According to him, almost every country in the world, The Gambia included, is affected by trafficking whether as a country of origin, transit or destination. “The Gambia exhibits the three enlisted elements as a source, transit and destination for victims of trafficking.”
“Tourism brings people together and can also expand perspectives and horizons and represents a powerful force for positive change. Tourism can also help to create jobs, fuel economic growth and sustain development.”
Mr. Stephen pointed out that the interconnectedness that brings us closer together of which tourism and travel are integral parts is also extremely vulnerable to the predators of organised criminal syndicates who want to benefit from the clandestine criminal business of human trafficking.
He said the law enforcement officers within the tourism sector play an integral role in combatting trafficking in persons, while noting that security officers are at the frontline of ensuring that our Tourism Development Area (TDAs) are saved from any predation of human traffickers including child trafficking.
He further explained that the project aims to support the government of The Gambia in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons by strengthening national capacities to successfully prevent and protect victims of trafficking and those at risk of trafficking, as well as to prosecute traffickers.
At the end of the training, he added, “it is our hope that the law enforcement officers within the tourism sector will be able to understand concepts of trafficking in persons, be able to identify potential VoTs and activities related to human trafficking within the Tourism Development Area.”