The Trump administration has implicated Gambian travel agencies in organized crimes that involved child sex tourism in a new report by the State Department.
Observers believe organized sex trafficking networks use European and Gambian travel agencies to promote child sex tourism, according to the Trafficking in Person report.
Poor families may encourage their children to endure such exploitation for financial gain.
In recent years, sex traffickers are increasingly hosting child sex tourists in private residences outside the commercial tourist areas of Banjul, making the crime harder for law enforcement to detect.
Traffickers have allegedly exploited Sierra Leonean boys and girls as “cultural dancers” in The Gambia.
The majority of these victims are subjected to sexual exploitation by child sex tourists, primarily from Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and Canada.
The Gambian tourism board continued to raise awareness of child sex trafficking within the tourism industry. Authorities continued to enforce the 2005 ban on unattended children in resort areas.
DSW continued to operate five neighborhood watch groups to monitor urban areas near tourist resorts for possible cases of child abuse or child sexual exploitation and it provided group members with allowances and cell phone credits.
However, none of these efforts led to the arrest of any suspected traffickers or child sex tourists.
The government also maintained posters at the international airport and in tourist areas to warn of the dangers of trafficking, including child sex tourism, and the criminal penalties for such offenses.
Gambia is facing law enforcement challenges but has prosecuted at least one person for child trafficking under its children’s act law. It has improved its trafficking tier status from Tier 3 to Tier 2, preventing a possible sanction.