Trafficking in person and smuggling of migrants are global and widespread crimes that affect men, women and children in different ways, says Hon. Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof, the minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment.
Although he said the two are sometimes linked, they are separate crimes that pose serious threat to human rights, human security, development and the rule of law.
Minister Joof made these remarks recently during the University of The Gambia Debate Association Inter-Tertiary Debate Championship held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference center.
The event was centred on the topic; “Enhancing the capacity of young people for the effective combating of Trafficking in Person and Smuggling of Migrants” and was attended by tertiary institutions, students from other academic institutions among others.
Hon. Minister extended appreciation of His Excellency, President Adama Barrow and the Government of The Gambia to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), other development partners especially IOM and United States Embassy in The Gambia for their work and support in their efforts to combat trafficking in persons and migrants in The Gambia.
According to him, trafficking in person is a crime and a human right abuse. Therefore, he added, the battle to combat trafficking in person and smuggling of migrants requires multisectoral partnerships and multi-dimensional approach.
Therefore, he said, the fight to combat human trafficking requires, first of all, the enactment of laws to criminalise both trafficking in person and smuggling of migrants. “It is important to note that the Government of The Gambia has enacted a law (Trafficking in Persons Act 2007) to prevent, suppress and punish those engaged in the trafficking of persons and is working towards enacting a law that will criminalise smuggling of migrants and punish culprits,” he informed the gathering.
However, Minister Joof revealed that they have also formulated policies to promote investment, development of industries and SMEs to create more jobs for the young population.
“We hope that these policies and programmes will facilitate the creation of more job opportunities for all and with more job opportunities and well-informed young people, there will be a decrease in the number of people going on the “irregular migration” thereby saving their youthful population,” he concluded.