By Fatoumatta K Jallow and Nelson Manneh The Child Protection Alliance (CPA), in partnership with the Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) and with support from ECPAT Netherlands, on Monday, 16th March 2015, at the Baobab Hotel in Bijilo organized a multi sectoral training workshop on the prevention of child sex tourism in the Gambia.The main objective of the workshop is to identify strategies to effectively protect children from abuse and exploitation in tourism as well as promote an inter-agency collaboration and partnership. Mr. Ousman Kebbeh of the Gambia Tourism Board, who works with CPA on child protection issues, said they should look at the mechanisms and put together plans that would help to protect children. ”It has often been said that the children are the future leaders of tomorrow which is quite true. So we have to protect them,” he said. He noted that the police should arrest offenders and take such issues to court. He added that the workshop will only be fruitful if the results would enable them to work together to protect children from such abuses. Mrs Awa Joof, who represented the Deputy Country Representative of UNICEF, said violence, especially sexual violence, affects the participation of children and their physical and mental health. She said there is need to protect them from such abuse for they are to be the functional and responsible adults of the nation. She stressed that sexual abuse is not a problem with Gambians only but is a global one. “The tourists come to the Gambia for different reasons, some come to enjoy the weather and for exploration but some come and take the advantages of the friendly people to abuse them,” she said. The UNICEF official said she is urging all Gambians to be observant and to take such cases to the police and for the police to also take such cases with seriousness. “Everybody should participate in order to stop such cases or put a stop to such negative abuses in the country,” she said. She also took the opportunity to thank the responsible tourists who contribute to the development of the country’s economy and make the good use of their visit.]]>
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