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Gambian NGO holds forum on tourism, children

A Gambian Non-governmental organisation, the Child Protection Alliance (CPA), has concluded a two-day forum on the West African country’s “code of conduct for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in the tourism sector,” PANA reports Thursday.

The forum, which ended Tuesday, is said to have brought together hoteliers, tourist taxi drivers and other major players in the industry that are crucial to the Gambian economy.

Addressing the meeting earlier, Gambia’s Tourism Minister, Fatou Mass Jobe, warned pedophiles to stay away from the Gambia.

She said, “children are our greatest resources, and are placed very high on Gambia’s development agenda.”

She said that in view of this development, the government was ready to ensure that Gambian children were well protected so they could become dignified and proud citizens of their nation.

“We will do everything possible to preserve our enviable image and remain much sought after and a leading responsible tourism destination in Africa,” she added.

Gambia’s tourism ministry developed a code of conduct for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in tourism, following it up a training manual to guard against “child sex tourism in the country”.

The forum, stakeholders indicated, was held with a view to raising awareness on the code of conduct and ensuring greater protection of children from abuse and exploitation in the country’s tourism sector.

Tourism is a leading foreign exchange earner and provider of jobs in The Gambia.

But the sector also has its problems, ranging from social vices like increase in prostitution and peadophilia – prompting the government to enacted the “Tourism Offences Act 2003,” and the “Children’s Act 2005” to ensure that children are better protected.

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