10 January 2013

Gambia: 18 Arrested for Alleged Child Labour

Officials of the Gambia Immigration Department Tuesday arrested 17 Gambians and one Senegalese for allegedly using young children to do domestic work and other petty trades for them in Banjul, the Gambia Immigration Department has revealed.

They were rounded up by Immigration officials after investigations revealed that they employed a total of 79 people including 77 Senegalese aged between 11 to 28 and 2 Gambians aged 20 and 22 years, and kept them in an incomplete building, where they were used to do domestic jobs for them.

According to Superintendent Ba Ensa Jawara, the immigration officials during their normal patrol acted on a tip-off and raided the building around 5am on Tuesday, where the 79 people mostly children were found.

"These children were kept in an incomplete building which is very unhygienic and they sleep on carton paper on the floor. The building is so horrible that even a human being cannot sleep there," Jawara told The Point.

"They were employed by the 18 people arrested to do some petty trade and domestic work for them, and later bring back the money to them," he added.

He explained that the 79 people were taken out of the building and screened in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department before being transferred to the Social Welfare Shelter in Bakoteh, where they are currently kept.

"After the screening, the children gave us the information which led to the arrest of the 18 people," the Immigration mouthpiece stated.

He further revealed that those arrested are currently released, and are now reporting on bail as investigations continue.

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