Confirmed: 3 Gambian girls rescued in Egypt, 7 at large

By Sanna Camara

Tulai Jawara NAATIP
Tulai Jawara is the Director of Gambia’s anti-trafficking agency. The institution has been criticised for, among other things, the lack of capacity to deal with the problem of trafficking in the Gambia

Following reports in the social media about Gambian girls being rescued by students in Egypt, Gambia Beat can confirm that three girls are already in the custody of the Senegalese embassy in Cairo, while seven others are at large.

The girls, who claimed to be purportedly trafficked from The Gambia by some African nationals who promised them work in Egypt, got arrested by Egyptian Police. “They were found to be without residence permit, leading to their detention as a result,” our source confirmed last night.

“They were here since January, but the (Gambia Students) union [in Egypt] have recently became aware of their presence in Cairo,” a post on the union’s Facebook page stated.

Sold to Egyptian couple

“Three of them were arrested by the police for not having residential permit, one have been sold to a Egyptian couple who lives in Haram and maltreated her badly,” the post explained.

In an effort to verify this claims, Gambia Beat made contact with sources in Egypt yesterday morning. by the evening, it has been confirmed that the information is indeed correct.

A former executive member of the students’ union in Egypt who lived in the country for over seven years told Gambia Beat couple of hours ago that “The information is accurate”.

The information is true…

After being contacted, he asked for time to make calls to Gambian student in Egypt. Within the hour, he came back with information from the union about the cases.

“Three are currently in the custody of the Senegalese embassy in Cairo. The other seven are at alrge. The information is true.” the source said, adding that with all the time he spent in Egypt, he never knew about trafficking issues involving Gambian girls there.

“The other girls are at large. They have no papers that is why they keep running and hiding away from the authorities. They will be in trouble when caught.” our source added.

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‘Watching closely’ – but is that enough…?

“The union have taken a vital step…”

Our source is working on facilitating an nterview with the current President of the Gambia Student’s Union in Egypt. He is said to be directly working with the Senegalese authorities on the cases of the three girls in their custody.

“The union have taken a vital step to safe her thank god with the help of Senegalese Embassy it became successful and they are with us now,” the Facebook page post stated.

The Gambia has been designated by the US State Department as “a source, transit and destination country” for human trafficking in its 2014 Trafficking in Persons’ Report.

“Problems” of tackling trafficking

While Gambian authorities denied these results, evidence keep emerging up confirming the trafficking at a scale bigger than people expected. The Police admitted “problems” of tackling trafficking in the country for various reasons.

This blogger, who began investigations into the issue in June last year got arrested by officers of the Major Crimes Unit, Gambia Police Force under “false publication charges”.

Faced with serious threats and Police harassment that span over two months after being released on bail, he had to move to Senegal where he continued his investigations over the past eight months.

Gambia Beat will bring you the interview with President of the Gambia Students’ Union in Egypt this week.

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