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Gambia: National Assembly Approves Amendment to Anti-Human Trafficking Law

(Oct. 13, 2010) On October 4, 2010, the 53-member unicameral Gambian National Assembly unanimously approved the Trafficking in Persons (Amendment) Bill 2010, legislation seeking to make the penalties for the crime trafficking of persons, established under the 2007 Trafficking in Persons Act, stiffer (Amie Sanneh, NAMs Pass Bill to Stiffen Penalty for Trafficking in Persons, FOROYAA ONLINE (Oct. 11, 2010),
). The Bill will be sent to the President for assent before it can become law (Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, § 100, The National Council for Civic Education website, (last visited Oct. 12, 2010)).

The Bill increases the mandatory minimum prison sentence for the offense of trafficking in persons from 15 to 50 years (Sanneh, supra). In addition, it makes the grave form of the offense (when the offense involves the rape or death of the victim or when the victim is a child), which under the current law is punishable by up to life imprisonment, a capital offence (id.).

The new law may not be a sufficient solution to the human trafficking problem in The Gambia. According to a 2010 report on this particular issue, The Gambia “is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution” (U. S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report -2010, The Gambia (June 14, 2010), The report also indicated that the current laws of The Gambia on human trafficking are “sufficiently stringent,” but that the government has “demonstrated limited progress in its anti-human trafficking law enforcement efforts” (id.). Making the laws more stringent, therefore, may not be a solution unless the laws are sufficiently enforced.