By Abdoulie John
As Gambian domestic workers continue to be victimized in the Middle East and the Gulf States, politicians and human rights activists have expressed concerns over their plight amid government’s disturbing silence.
“The dire situation of Gambian domestic workers in Arab countries is a matter of concern and deserves all the greater consideration,” human rights lawyer Assan Martin told this reporter.
Last Monday, Freedomnewspaper anchor Pa Nderry Mbai posted to his Facebook wall indicating that Zeinab Ceesay, a former migrant worker held in captivity for weeks by her Kuwaiti employer, has received $ 625.58 in GoFundMe campaign. This followed a drive taken by Gambians living in Germany to raise the required $2,500 to set her free from her employer. Her case sparked huge reaction from the public and other migrant workers scattered in Arab countries.
Lawyer Martin said the government’s silence over the fate of Gambian domestic workers constitutes an indication that the authorities do not care about the welfare of its citizens abroad. “It is clear that any responsible government would have taken steps to address such a situation. However, the regime in Gambia choose remain silent because of the fact that some officials have been benefiting from this scheme
An opinion not shared by Hamat Bah of the opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP) who stated that these domestic workers parents also bear responsibility for the hardship their daughters have been encountering in Arab states.
“I don’t think we should put the blame on government entirely. In my view, the parents who are giving out their children should also be blamed and be challenged by law,” he said.
The NRP leader admitted that government intelligence and security services should be able to track these human traffickers and arrest them so that they face the rots of the law.
This reporter,s efforts to reach out to the Gambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment remained futile. Numerous calls were made to the department in efforts to find out if they Gambia government have plans to rescue these desperate girls from their Arab master beare no fruits.
The tiny West African nation has been described by many as the ‘hub’ of human trafficking in West Africa. United States 2014 report on Trafficking In Persons (TIP) branded Gambia as a “source country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.”