In a bid to protect vulnerable children who rampantly sell, roam, eat and live in the streets, stakeholders drawn from both government and private institutions converged at TANGO on Thursday, November 4 to form a network.
The organizers responsible for the formation of the network were the Centre for Street Children Trafficking Studies (CSCACTS), Child Protection Alliance (CPA), CEDAG, and Department of Social Welfare and were funded by International Social Service Swiss Foundation (ISS), with the aim of protecting children from trafficking, violence and harassments.
Fanta Bai Secka, the director of social Welfare saw the initiative of forming the network of child protection as timely saying that children issues are crosscutting issues and no single institution can solely handle them, adding that it is important for institutions from both the government and the private sectors to work as a team to make sure that children living in our surroundings are protected.
“Children are small but their issues are not, it is only through collective efforts that they could be addressed,” she said.
Taking advantage of their vulnerability, children are trafficked just like goods by using approaches like education, good living conditions and others but later used as labourers in plantations, prompting the Child Protection Alliance and other children institutions to come up with the idea of forming the network which will be there to protect children who are or about to be affected.
“Young girls and boys are violated by old men and women by using their vulnerability while selling or doing their domestic works for survival,” said Sheikh E.T.Lewis, the coordinator of the Network.
He said that the means that people use to violate the rights of children are monies or promises which only a rich child will reject but a poor child will or may not. Therefore he said that the network will not only be there for networking shake but will try to work with the government and the police likewise the law makers to ensure that our children are protected.
Madi Jorbateh of TANGO in a brief statement said that the people who are to form the network should put at the back of their minds that they should not see it as a mere network but a productive one where all members should participate fully to make sure that it progresses and achieves its aim which is to make sure that our children are protected.
The Gambia is now the first English speaking country to participate in the move to protect children with vulnerability in Africa joining countries like Mali, Senegal, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.