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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                 

Republic of The Gambia

The Gambia has no confirmed mineral or natural resource deposits and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides.

Unemployment and underemployment rates remain extremely high; short-run economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, on continued technical assistance from the IMF and bilateral donors, and on expected growth in the construction sector.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Gambia

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in The Gambia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Gambia deports 64 street children to Senegal

Panapress PANA, 29 February 2008

[accessed 16 May 2011]

The Gambian Immigration Department has deported 64 street children, locally known as "almudus", who were rounded up in Banjul and Serrekunda and identified as Senegalese citizens.

According to Superintendent Olimatou Jammen-Sonko, spokesperson of the Gambian Immigration, the children, who are all boys, aged between 10 and 17, were like vagabonds, noting that they were living by themselves, as most of them slept in the mosques and under verandas. Jammen-Sonko pointed out that some of them were being used as child labourers at the beach-side, paid low wages while most of them were not physically healthy and were causing nuisance within the communities.

"From now on, teenagers travelling to Gambia without parents will not be allowed in and the department will put up all measures to stop the influx of children into the Gambia," the spokesperson said.

Poverty Drives Children To The Streets

Sulayman Makalo, The Gambia

[accessed 16 May 2011]

[accessed 29 November 2016]

There was a phenomenon of dumping children in the Gambia from neighboring countries.  Gambian law stipulates that children under 7 years of age found abandoned were to be considered Gambians.


*** ARCHIVES ***

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 6 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - In urban areas, children are commonly found working as street vendors or taxi and bus assistants.  The number of street children is growing and has led to increased instances of children begging.  Consequently, their vulnerability to exploitation has been exacerbated.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] The statutory minimum age for employment is 14 years; however, child labor was a problem. There was no effective compulsory education, and because of limited secondary school openings, most children completed formal education by the age of 14 and then began work. Child labor protection does not extend to youth performing customary chores on family farms or engaged in petty trading. In rural areas most children assisted their families in farming and housework. In urban areas many children worked as street vendors or taxi and bus assistants. There were a few instances of children begging on the street.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2001

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 12 October 2001

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[54]. The Committee notes the efforts of the State party to improve the situation of education in the country, including the recent launching of the Third Education Sector Programme. Nevertheless, the Committee expresses concern that primary education is not free in practice, which further limits access to education, especially for girls, children from economically disadvantaged families and those living in remote rural communities. Concern is also expressed regarding low enrolment and high drop-out and repetition rates, insufficient numbers of trained teachers, an insufficient number of schools and classrooms, lack of relevant learning material, and geographical disparity in enrolment rates and access to education

[58]. The Committee expresses grave concern at the high and increasing number of street children. In particular, the Committee notes their limited access to health, education and other social services as well as their vulnerability to police brutality, sexual abuse and exploitation and economic exploitation.

GAMBIA: Street children persist despite crackdown

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Banjul, 4 June 2009

[accessed 10 March 2015]

In Gambia ex-almodou Mutarr Nying, 12, escaped his marabout’s home in 2007 because he could not endure the regular beatings from his teacher. Children are battered if they do not deliver enough money to their teacher each night, he said, revealing a scar on his neck he said was from such a beating.   “It is a long time ago now [since I left]. I think two rains have passed since. Once he [the teacher] sent my peers in search of me. They almost kidnapped me, but a market woman came to my rescue.”  

He said: “For two days she gave me food. I slept under her stall for a week without her knowing." Mutarr still carries a can to collect alms to support himself. He has not seen his parents for three years.

Reports to Treaty Bodies - Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 16 May 2011]

Concern was expressed about: the fact that primary education is not free in practice; low enrolment and high drop-out and repetition rates, insufficient numbers of trained teachers, an insufficient number of schools and classrooms, the lack of relevant learning material, and the geographical disparity in enrolment rates and access to education; the high rate of illiteracy, especially among girls; the quality of education; the inadequate standards, procedures and policies to guarantee and protect the rights of refugee, asylum-seeking and unaccompanied children; the high and increasing number of street children and child beggars, their limited access to health, education and other social services as well as their vulnerability to police brutality, sexual abuse and exploitation and economic exploitation; the large number of children engaged in labor and the lack of information and adequate data on the situation of child labor and economic exploitation; the absence of a legal minimum age for employment; the large and increasing number of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, including for prostitution and pornography, especially among child laborers and street children; the insufficient programs for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims of such abuse and exploitation.

Information about Street Children [DOC]

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for Anglophone West Africa on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 21-24 October 2003 in Accra, Ghana

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 16 May 2011]

The common factor among street children in the Gambia is poverty; low income, non-literate families and poor living conditions are common. Families cannot meet most of their basic requirements for food and shelter, and as a consequence, the developmental growth of the children is severely affected. The major factors pushing children onto the streets are therefore primarily poverty and domestic violence.

Committee On Rights Of Child Concludes Review Of Gambia's Report On Implementation Of The Convention

UN Committee On Rights Of Child CRC 28th session, 5 October 2001, Press Release

[accessed 16 May 2011]

RESPONSE OF GAMBIA - Many street children were boys from neighboring countries like Senegal, Guinea and Mali who come to the country under the guise of studying under Islamic tutors -- the marabouts.  The majority of such children were Gambians. These street children were usually between the ages of 6 and 15 years. Due to pressure from their masters, some of them engaged in begging and stealing.  The Government has found that mobile schools were effective with street children, particularly those who had dropped out of regular schools.

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