Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons – Smuggling of Migrants
The entities responsible for the implementation on the Action Plan include the Ministry of Justice, NAATIP, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Gambia Police Force, the Gambia Immigration Department and the Department of Social Welfare.
The Gambia has a National Action Plan (PoA) Against Trafficking in Person 2016-2020. It was drafted by the Ministry of Justice and the NAATIP, which is responsible for updating and implementing the action plan. The PoA ensures effective national coordination and cooperation for the enforcement of Trafficking Legislation. It is also developed to strengthen NAATIP’s response in the area of prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership as well as research and assessment.
The main strategic objectives of the PoA are:
To develop the necessary policies and administrative structures in line with international legal instruments, to support the effective implementation and enforcement of laws against Trafficking In Persons;
To ensure effective national coordination and cooperation for enforcement of the trafficking legislation.
The Ministry of Justice and the NAATIP are responsible for updating and implementing the PoA. In 2018, the PoA was extended until 2020, but the implementation was limited due to a lack of funding. In 2020, through the support of IOM, a consultant has been contracted to support updating the National Action Plan.
Related Action Plans
REGARDING CHILD LABOUR
The National Child Protection Strategy (2016–2020): This document outlines strategies to improve child protection, including addressing the worst forms of child labor, by increasing awareness and strengthening coordination among governmental agencies. The Strategy, along with its Action Plan, is the result of a series of consultations and engagements led by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW), with critical input from the National Child Protection Committee (NCPC) and a wide range of child protection actors, community members, care-givers and children. The Strategy follows from a mapping and assessment of the Child Protection systems in The Gambia held in 2013. The Child Protection Action Plan 2016-2018 was developed to guide the implementation of the Strategy and to highlight key activities proposed from the 2013 mapping assessment. The Action Plan has six strategic objectives of the Child Protection Strategy and will address systemic prevention and response to child protection issues across the country.
Code of Conduct of The Gambia Tourism Authority for the Protection of Children: The Code raises awareness of commercial sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry and among tourists. It requires new hotel staff to be trained on the Code at the beginning of the annual peak touristic season. In 2018, the Government reported new hotel staff received this training by the Gambia Tourism Authority as part of the policy’s implementation.
The Gambia and Senegal Trafficking Memorandum of Understanding (Dec. 2013): This MoU coordinates the two countries’ efforts to address human trafficking through meetings, information sharing, improved laws, and prevention, protection, and assistance activities.
National Structures Responsible for Identifying Traffickers and Victims of Trafficking (VOT)
The identification is generally done by various actors such as the Gambia Immigration personnel and the officers of the Gambia Police Force (Tourist Security Unit), whose main responsibility is on SOM, but who are also key in identifying TIP victims.
National Structures Responsible for Border Management
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) has the core mandate in Gambia to control persons entering or leaving Gambia as well as border surveillance and patrol.
The Gambia Immigration Department is responsible according to the Immigration Act 1965 establishing it for:
The control of persons entering or leaving The Gambia
The issuance of ID cards and travel documents to Gambians in and outside Gambia
The issuance of residence permits to foreign nationals in Gambia
Border surveillance and patrol
Enforcement of laws and regulations with which we have been directly charged
National Structures Addressing Smuggling of Migrants
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) is responsible for addressing Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). It is a task of the Migration Management Unit (MMU), which is part of the Gambia Immigration Department that reports to the Ministry of Interior. The MMU was established in 2008 and is in charge of irregular migrants, returnees (both voluntary and involuntary), and unaccompanied and separated migrant children.
There is also the Joint Airport Interdiction Taskforce: This Taskforce comprises all the security agencies present at the Banjul International Airport. They are fighting all forms of organise crime at the airport.
National Coordinating Bodies
The National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons was initially created in 2004. Since 2019, the Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery of the Office of the President has been providing technical support to NAATIP.
The National Task Force includes NAATIP, Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery (Office of the President), Ministry of Justice, Department of Immigration, Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Women’s Bureau, Gambia Radio and Television Services, Center for Street Children and Child Trafficking Studies, Bakoteh Shelter for the Children, and Gambia Police Force, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Gambia Tourism Board, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment, The Association of NGOs (TANGO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Judicial Secretary, CEDAG, Child Protection Alliance, ISRA, Child Fund, Gamcotrap, Network of Girls Against Human Trafficking, Financial Intelligence Unit, Network Against Gender Based Violence, and Gambia.
The National Task Force serves as a platform for dialogue on the progress made and challenges encountered by the Government of The Gambia in relation to efforts towards combating Trafficking in Persons in The Gambia.
The National Task Force is chaired by The Gambia National Agency Against Trafficking in Person (NAATIP) under the Ministry of Justice and periodically makes its progress report to its Board of Directors. The National Task Force meets on a quarterly basis with support from IOM.
Specialized Units - Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM)TIP
The Gambia has essentially two main specialized units.
The National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP) is under the Ministry of Justice and was established in 2007. it is the coordinating body for government anti-trafficking efforts. Twelve staff work for NAATIP, led by the Executive Director, and including three investigators, one procurement officer, one legal clerk, one prosecutor, one database officer. The database officer is in charge of the data collection, which is completed electronically. In 2004, the National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons was NAATIP for TIP, GID for SOM, DSW for Children established with the key Ministries, governmental agencies and civil society organizations involved in the fight against human trafficking. They meet quarterly and share information. The Agency develops a quarterly report for the National Task Force and a yearly report shared with relevant stakeholders.
The Migration Management Unit (MMU) is under The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) and reports to the Ministry of Interior. The MMU was established in 2008 and is in charge of irregular migrants, including returnees and unaccompanied and separated migrant children. The activities of the Unit involve:
Working at the border posts, identifying, and recording cases of smuggling into The Gambia, victims of trafficking, UASMC and returnees.
Conducting sensitization activities on irregular migration with community leaders, local authorities, and youth sometimes through projects involving work with Gambian media.
The Gambia is a source, transit and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Within the Gambia, women, girls, and to a lesser extent, boys are subjected to sex trafficking, forced labor in street vending, and domestic servitude. Women and children from West African countries (Sierra Leone, Senegal, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Benin) are recruited for sex trafficking in The Gambia. Child sex tourists primarily from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavian countries, and the United Kingdom subject the majority of these victims to sexual exploitation. Sex traffickers increasingly host child sex tourists in private residences outside the commercial tourist areas of Banjul, making the crime harder to detect. Boys are trafficked within the country for forced begging by religious teachers and for street vending and agricultural work. NGOs identified Gambian children in forced labor in neighboring West African countries. Traffickers have allegedly exploited Sierra Leonean children as “cultural dancers” in The Gambia. Gambian women are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking in the Middle East, including Lebanon and Kuwait. In the previous years, the authorities have identified Gambian trafficking victims in Egypt, Kuwait, UAE, Finland, Cyprus, and Algeria. Nationals of countries within the region are using The Gambia as a departure point for women and girls heading to the Middle East for work, due to restrictions/bans from travelling from their own countries (i.e. Sierra Leone).The Gambia is among the top five nationalities for individuals crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy or Spain (Source: Hunt, 2017). En route to Europe, Gambian migrants travel through Senegal and other West African States, eventually passing from Libya to Italy through the Mediterranean.
Main Trends and Figures
Between 2017 to 2019, 79 victims of trafficking have been identified and assisted in The Gambia. Among the 79 VoTs, 29 were women and 50 were men, 8 were non-Gambian victims and 71 were nationals. Seven victims have been assisted to return to The Gambia and ten to their countries of origin.
With respect to smuggling of migrants, more than 35,000 Gambians arrived in Europe by irregular means between 2014 and 2018, with many others in Africa along the Central Mediterranean Route opting for voluntary return. Between January 2017 and October 2019, over 4,800 Gambian returnees were assisted by IOM.
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) Hotlines
TIP/SOM (NAATIP)- (+220) 2002828 /7227213
Others (Children protection/ assistance)- 199*
*Department of Social Welfare has a child helpline 199 to provide daily (24 hours) quality counseling services for all vulnerable children, young people and community members on issues affecting children and other vulnerable members of society. It provides counseling center, client-centered, confidential, and non-judgmental counseling.
National Referral Mechanism and/or Standard Operating Procedures
The National Referral Mechanisms for Protection and Assistance Victims of Trafficking in the Gambia was validated in August 2020.
In addition, there are the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Protection and Assistance of Migrant Children in The Gambia. Led by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) within the Ministry of Women, children and social welfare. The SOPs provide step-by-step coordinated and standardized guidelines for referral and instructions to guide social workers to carry out their interventions related to child migrants. The DSW works to assist unaccompanied minors and victims of trafficking with shelter, counselling, reintegration, and financial support. They have a shelter where child victims of trafficking stay and receive medical assistance.
In support of the NRM, the frontline identification actors inform and coordinate with services providers/actors for further assistance is based on National Referral Mechanisms (NRM) for Protection and Assistance Victims of Trafficking in the Gambia. The frontline actors will use screening and profiling tools to determine needs and vulnerabilities of VoTs/potential VoTs/vulnerable migrants and refer to a focal point (listed here below) at the relevant agency/institution based on needs identified.
Measures to Detect Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) Cases along the Borders
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) in coordination with IOM is in the process of development of a Border Procedures Manual and installation of MIDAS. This will serve as a guide to detect cases of TIP and SOM at all borders in the Gambia.
In addition, the Ministry of Interior has created a special task force charged with the responsibility of combating smuggling of migrants in the country.
The SOP on ‘Screening, Identification, and Referral of VoTs’ was validated in August 2020. It Includes detailed guidelines on procedure to be taken for VoTs identified at borders.
It is important to recall the Gambia signed specific agreements with Senegal:
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Committee Against Trafficking in Persons of the Republic of Senegal to fight cross border trafficking crimes between the two countries’
An agreement on preferred entry and stay.
In 2018, IOM provided training to strengthen the protection capacity of Gambian officials. In total, 30 officials from the Gambia Immigration Department, the Police and the Department of Social Welfare were trained to identify, screened and respond to cases of vulnerable migrants. The training was that aimed at reinforcing the capacity of frontline officials to identify vulnerable migrants in need of protection, safeguard their rights and provide them with assistance via referral to relevant stakeholders in line with international standards.
In January 2019, a Training of Trainers (ToT) was conducted on Document Examination, Fraud Detection and Protection of vulnerable migrants. This was followed by a cascade training for 58 frontline officers across the country on the same topics in March 2019.
In September/October 2019 a training was conducted on Transnational Crime and its relation to migration. Capacity building for frontline border officers on Basic First Aid was held in October 2019. 8 GID officials and 3 Police Officers were trained on combatting transnational organised crimes as well as TIP and SOM in November 2019. In addition, MIDAS installation and user training for 30 border /immigration officials was held in March – April 2020
Law Enforcement Agencies Responsible for Investigating Cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM)
THE SPECIAL DIVISION FOR INVESTIGATION (DIS)
NAATIP has personnel from The Gambia Police Force, Gambia Immigration Department and State Intelligence Service. It investigates suspected cases of human trafficking. Members include investigators, police, members of the National Intelligence Agency, and five prosecutors, gathers evidence for the NAATIP director, who can recommend that the NAATIP prosecutor file charges for human trafficking violations.
INVESTIGATIONS ON SOM
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) takes the lead in investigating cases of SOM. The Migration Management Unit is working at the border posts, identifying and investigating cases of smuggling into the Gambia, trafficking, UAMs and returnees. The Unit has around 50 members of staff, spread across six locations: four staff in five border posts at key entry points (Basse, Amdallai, Giboro, Farafenni, Soma), four at the Banjul airport, four at the Ministry in Banjul and between 25 and 30 at Tanji (in charge of patrolling).
Identity and Travel Documentation/Investigation and Forensic Lab
(This is in views to support identity verification/establishment as for victims and traffickers).
In absence of a forensic laboratory, the Gambia Immigration Department (GID) has a team in charge of identity and travel documentation investigators at Banjul International Airport. The GID is also responsible to issue ID cards, passports and related emergency travel documents. There were two types of identity card in circulation: a traditional non-electronic identity card, and an electronic identity card containing a chip produced by SEMELEX. SEMELEX who is the body responsible for the issuance of work and residence permits and driving licenses on behalf of the Gambian government. But the passports are produced by the Gambia Biometric Identity System (GAMBIS).
Technical Working Groups (TWG)
The Gambia has TWG that are working at Child labour issues.
The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) is the primary coordinating body responsible for child protection in The Gambia. In 2012, the DSW set up a National Child Protection Committee (NCPC) tasked with coordinating child protection activities at the national level. The NCPC is a member of the National Task Force and comprises of government Ministries, Departments, UN Agencies, NGOs, and Civil Society organizations. The DSW also provides specific coordination in relation to child sexual exploitation cases (CSEC) in tourism and then notifies the Tourism Security Unit (TSU) which is responsible for enforcing all CSEC-related laws and also preventing children from entering tourist areas unaccompanied. The DSW also assists with coordination in relation to child victims of trafficking and operates a national hotline where suspected trafficking cases can be reported.
Agency Responsible for Data Collection and ProcessingTIP
In the Gambia, the collection of administrative data on trafficking and smuggling is not centralized. The ministry of Interior and Justice are the main institutions in charge of data collection in the field of migration, both regular and irregular. Three departments are tasked with migration management and data collection.
The National Agency against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP) and the Ministry of Interior collect information about irregular migration and cases of trafficking. NAATIP registers the cases referred to the Ministry of Justice. NAATIP has one database officer who is in charge of the data collection, which is completed electronically. In 2004, a national task force against trafficking in persons was established with the key Ministries involved in human trafficking. They meet quarterly and share information. The Agency develops a quarterly report for the national task force and a yearly report shared with relevant stakeholders.
The Migration Management Unit (MMU) Under the Gambia Immigration Department (GID), is in charge and registering irregular migrants, including deportees, returnees, and Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs), intercepted at the border.
The Statistics Unit within the Gambia Immigration Department is in charge of collecting data from all the official entry points in the country. It is also responsible for issuing documents such as visas, residential permits, alien cards and national identification cards. The Unit develops monthly and annual reports, shared with all the relevant stakeholders, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Population Council, Gambia Tourism Board, the National Intelligence Agency, the offices of the President and the Vice President and the Gambian Bureau of Statistics (GBoS).
Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking Agencies
Competent Authority and Mechanism to Identify Victims of Trafficking
The National Agency Against Trafficking in Person (NAATIP) is the competent government authority to identify and recognize a person as VoT. Access to service/assistance is not conditional upon being officially recognized as VoT. The referrals are appropriately made to various service providers in the country.
Assistance Services and Contacts
There is no document available to the public regarding all services available. However, the SOPs for protection and assistance of migrant children has a list of the various entities and services provided. In addition, it will soon be updated on the NRM that is currently being developed.
International Cooperation Agreements - Cross Border and Extradition Treaties
Protocol to Present, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, 2000. Ratified by the Gambia on the 5th of May 2003
The Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime 2000 which criminalizes inter alia, participation in an organised crime group, laundering of proceeds of crime, corruption of public officials. Ratified by the Gambia on the 5th of May 2003
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, 2000. Ratified by the Gambia on the 8th of April 2010
Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 which enjoins state parties to take all appropriate national bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of the slave or traffic in children for pay purpose of in any form. The Gambia signed this convention on 5th of February 1990 and ratified same on 8th of August 1990
ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - 1999 (No. 182). Ratified 3rd of July 2001
The Gambia is both a member of the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) and Regional Heads of Immigration within ECOWAS regional from which regional security cooperation arrangements are discussed
The Gambia is party of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
The Gambia is also bound by ECOWAS texts, including its Treaty (1975) and its subsequent protocols regarding free movement of persons, residence and establishment. The Gambia is yet to sign the Joint ECOWAS/ECCAS Regional Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and the Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in West and Central Africa
ECOWAS Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (1992)
The Libreville Declaration (2000): The Gambia is part of the Libreville Joint Platform for Action of 24 February 2000 on the development of strategies to combat trafficking in children for the purpose of exploiting their work in West and Central Africa. The Libreville Consultation is the result of a long process of collaboration and continuous exchange between UNICEF, ILO and the government of Gabon, which has facilitated the participation of 21 countries of the region of West and Central Africa.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) established an operational presence in 2001. IOM the Gambia officially became a country office in July 2017 when the Chief of Mission was deployed to The Gambia. IOM works closely with the Government of The Gambia to strengthen migration governance through national coordination frameworks and evidence-based policy design, particularly through research and collection and analysis of data to inform policymaking. IOM has also provided technical assistance to the Government in developing its first national migration policy.
UNODC launched a cross-border initiative between The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal aiming at “Enhancing national capacities to detect and investigate cross-border organised crime in the three countries”. The official launch of the project was in December 2017 in Banjul, to support the strengthening of sub-regional cooperation between the three countries, and train elite law enforcement officers to investigate high-profile crimes and establish a solid criminal intelligence system. This activity is financed by Germany. In 2018, The Gambia is also part of the PROMIS Program jointly implemented by UNODC and Office of High Commission for Human Rights, the project aims to strengthen the capacities of West African countries to develop a human rights-based response to the smuggling of migrants as well as to respond effectively to human rights violations related to irregular migration.
INTERPOL, The Gambia Police Force has been part of INTREPOL since October 1986. The Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) for The Gambia is located in the GPF headquarters in Banjul. It is headed by a Commissioner who is assisted by an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Responsibilities of the NCB in The Gambia include human trafficking, terrorism, financial crime, fugitives, stolen works of art, and others.
The EU Trust Fund for Africa was launched at the Valletta Summit on Migration in November 2015 by European and African partners. The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was created to address the root causes of instability, forced displacement and irregular migration and to contribute to good migration management. The Fund is worth over 2.6€ billion. The Gambia is part of the Sahel and Lake Chad window of the Trust Fund along with 11 countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal.
2006, Spain and The Gambia signed a Framework Cooperation Agreement in Migration and Development in order to address irregular immigration. (available in Spanish only). In 2013, A cooperation project between Spain and the GID, the Gambia technical Training Institute (GTTI), and targeted local communities in the country aimed at providing employable skills to returnees and youths at risk, integrating returnees into their communities, building capacities of implementing stakeholders, alerting the population on the risks of irregular migration, and creating, managing, and sharing data on irregular migration. The final beneficiaries of this project were 480 returnees, 320 youths at risk of migration, and civil servants of the implementing institutions.
A bilateral agreement on combatting irregular migration were made between Italy and The Gambia in 2010. Since then, periodic capacity building and training for Gambian Immigration personnel has taken place in Italy (more than 65 Gambian personnel have completed these courses in Italy since 2010). Furthermore, Italy has provided The Gambia with equipment.
2013, The Gambia has built inter-state relations with Ghana and Senegal. A Memorandum of Understanding with Senegal to combat cross-border trafficking crimes between the two countries has been signed. In addition, Senegal and The Gambia have concluded an agreement on preferred entry and stay.
The government of the Gambia commence the process of finalizing a draft bilateral agreement with NAPTIP in Nigeria .
Extradition agreements: The Gambia has not yet a party of the 1994 ECOWAS agreements on extradition. But is party of the London Scheme for Extradition within the Commonwealth. The Gambia has also signed extradition agreements with Senegal, UK, USA .
Transnational Referral Mechanism
A transnational referral mechanism (TRM) does not currently exist.
To learn more about TRMs, see IOM’s Transnational Referral Mechanism Model (TACT) project and tool
Additional International Instruments
Related to Various NGOs operating in The Gambia: please see The Association of Non- Governmental Organizations in the Gambia (TANGO), founded in 1983, is the umbrella organization for NGOs operating in The Gambia. The Association was founded by a group of NGOs out of the concern to avoid duplication of NGO efforts, and to minimize conflict and competition between NGOs. TANGO has a membership of over 80 national and International NGOs, who are working with communities in different all parts of the country.
Useful Documents and Reports
Relevant National Legislation and Policies
All 15 ECOWAS member states: are entitled to travel/enter the country with a National ID card or ECOWAS Laisser-Passer/Passport: They can stay for 90 days, after which they must visit the Department of Immigration for regularization of their stay.
Visa exempt: Mauritania.
Visa on Arrival (for up to 28 days stay): European Union citizens and UK.
VISA required: Libya and Chad.
More information at can be found on the Banjul Airport website.
To respect its international and regional commitments, The Gambia has taken legal and institutional measures to combat trafficking in persons. On the legal level, these measures included the adoption of:
2010 Amendment to the 2007 Trafficking in Persons Act (Act and Amendment available in English). It defines and criminalizes trafficking in persons. Trafficking of a person under 18 is punishable by life in prison, while that of an adult is punishable by at least 15 years in prison. It includes provisions for the protection and support of VoTs.
2005 Children’s Act (available in English). Effective since 2 August 2005, this landmark piece of legislation brings together all the laws relating to children, sets out the rights and responsibilities of children and provides for their care, protection and maintenance. The Act says a child is any person under the age of eighteen years and regards child abuse as any violation of the rights of a child which causes physical or mental harm to the child. Art. 29 and 30 refer to the prohibition of child trafficking. Art. 41 prohibits child labor.
2003 Tourism Offenses Act, particularly Art. 21, 23, and 24, prohibits trafficking of children and criminalizes sexual offences made by tourists to The Gambia.
Recent Modifications and New Decrees
In 2019, The Gambia Immigration Department is amending its Immigration Act with a special provision on the prohibition and criminalizing of smuggling of migrants (SoM). The Immigration Act creates The Gambia’s legal framework for immigration, describes the various provisions related to entry and residence permits for ECOWAS and non-ECOWAS nationals, specifically discusses visas, including Residence Permit A (for students and retired civil servants), Residence Permit B (for skilled workers), and Residence Permit B Gratis (for foreign nationals invited by the Gambian government). It also has various previsions for the acquisition of citizenship through naturalization.
In 2018, a draft law on SoM has been presented to the Ministry of Justice for review.
The Government of The Gambia has developed these new policies:
In July 2019, The Gambia’s national cabinet has approved the country’s first National Migration Policy (not yet published in official Gazette). The policy contains a section on SoM and spells out a number of activities against SoM. It aims to provide a national framework for migration management, provide guidance for the revision of national legislation on migration to effectively address the current migration challenges in compliance with global norms on migration management, ECOWAS protocols, as well as AU and ECOWAS approaches to migration management.
In September 2019, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Protection and Assistance of Migrant Children in The Gambia was finalized. IOM has been providing technical assistance to the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in developing the SOPs on the protection and assistance of child migrants. The objectives of the SOPs are to provide step-by-step coordinated and standardized instructions to guide social workers to carry out their interventions related to child migrants. The SOPs are in English only and available on request from the Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.
In August 2020, the SOPs for the Identification, Referral, Assistance and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in The Gambia was validated (For more details see section regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).
Legal Instruments for Assistance and Compensation to Victims of Trafficking
REGARDING LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Legal assistance is provided to Victims of TIP by the state through National Agency for Legal Aid (Aid-NALA), under the Ministry of Justice or through Female Lawyers Association Gambia (FLAG), Gambia Police Force. It is provided whenever the need arises, usually when the VOTs visit one stop centers where they meet with caregivers (police, lawyers, nurses, social workers, and doctors ) to determine their needs. It is provided to them through a legal representation by NALA/ FLAG.
All victims of TIP have access to legal assistance, irrespective of their immigration status or type of exploitation.
The provision of residential permit to a victim of TIP is done by the Gambia Immigration Department if the victim meets the minimum conditions, such as age. This is usually done if the social worker liaises with the Immigration Department. In The Gambia, the minimum age for the issuance of residence permits is 18 years; currently children under 18 years of age are not issued residence permits. National child protection stakeholders therefore recommend VoT children be granted an ‘attestation,’ meaning a document ascertaining their identity. The minimum/maximum duration of residential permit in The Gambia is one year and it can be renewed on an annual basis.
More detailed information on legal aid and Aid-NALA in the Gambia (available in English)
REGARDING VICTIMS COMPENSATION
The 2007 Trafficking in Persons Act, Part IX Art 54. It established a victim fund for victims of trafficking, the management and control of which is subject to the provisions of the Act, vested in the Agency. The Act also mention the following measures.
A person convicted of the offence of trafficking may be ordered by the court to pay compensation to the victims of trafficking
A person who, in pursuit of trafficking, causes injury to another person may be ordered to pay compensation to the injured person
The payment of compensation may be in addition to any other punishment.