The Gambia Tourism Board in its commitment to eradicate child sex tourism in Gambia constituted a task force committee for developing a training manual on child sex tourism. The training manual was launched on Wednesday 5 October at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Kololi.
The launching of the training manual concurs with the mandate of GTB in child protection in tourism and also serves as an instrument and substantive material that the government of the Gambia and UNICEF are doing to protect children in tourism.
Delivering his launching statement on behalf of the minister for tourism and culture, the Deputy Permanent Secretary Mr. Modou Joof said the launching of this manual is another milestone in the annals of child sex tourism. He said it is also timely as they are about to see the beginning of another tourist season. He expressed the fact that child sex tourism is an issue which is not only restricted to the tourism sector but to the entire society including, families, schools and other organisations. He said the fight against child sex tourism is a fight on all fronts and in all the corners of the country. This, he noted shows children are vulnerable and can be easily attracted by so many things. He therefore expressed commitment to all on the fight against child sex tourism. “It is committed by all and sundry” he said.
Mr. Joof stated that tourism provides revenue for the Gambia government and the private sector, therefore he said it is a very important source of income to both Gambians and non Gambians who operate within the sector.
He revealed that, the ministry of tourism is geared to extend the punishment attached to offenders of child sex tourism so as to protect the child in Gambia and even the tourist. He said the training manual will go a long way in increasing awareness to the sector and also the environment, as the issue of child sex tourism is a complicated issue that has social complications.
He noted that with collaboration with one another, the fight against child sex tourism would certainly be ended.
He tasked trainers to go beyond the classroom and make it a duty to sensitise and disseminate the information to their colleagues. He concluded by thanking UNICEF for its support in the compilation of this manual.
Ousman Kebbeh, the Tourism Human Resources Officer at the GTB said the training manual started a year ago in collaboration with stakeholders to make sure that the training manual is on board to protect child sex tourism in the Gambia.
He noted that, the task force committee set up to work on the training manual play key role in the protection of child sex tourism. He challenged participants, who he terms as ambassadors of their organisations and institutions to share and disseminate to their colleagues the information about child sex tourism, so that it can protect our children.
All this he said, requires collective efforts that need to take on board our work.
He thanked the Gambia government and UNICEF for their support in protecting children in our country. He urged participants to make good use of the manual. Other speakers include Modou Tala Jobe of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) who dealt on similar sentiments.