4 July 2014

Gambia: Police Detain Journalist for Human Trafficking Story

press release

Police in Banjul on June 27, 2014, detained Sanna Camara, a journalist with privately-owned The Standard newspaper at the Bundung police station, about 13 kilometers from the capital Banjul. According to MFWA's sources, the detention was as a result of a story written by Camara in the paper's June 27, edition. The said story, titled "Police admits 'problems' with human trafficking", was based on an interview the journalist had with the police PRO ASP David Kujabi on the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) for 2014.

The TIP report among other things said "within The Gambia, women, girls, and, to a lesser extent, boys are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude. Women, girls, and boys from West African countries,mainly Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Benin are recruited for commercial sexual exploitation in The Gambia".

In Camara's story, Kujabi reportedly admitted that Gambian police face challenges in combatting human trafficking, largely due to the unwillingness of victims or their families to aid investigations. Camara was detained and questioned about the story on June 27 and released on June 28. He was then asked to report at the major crime unit at the main police headquarters in Banjul on June 30 and July 1.

The MFWA condemns the detention and continued harassment of the journalist who was merely doing his work. We urge the Gambian Police Force to allow the media to carry out their duties in an atmosphere devoid of intimidation and harassment.

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