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Sale and sexual exploitation of children: UN expert visits The Gambia

GENEVA (18 October 2019) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, will visit The Gambia from 21 to 29 October 2019.

"I look forward to assessing the scope of sale and sexual exploitation of children in the country, as well as the measures and structures in place to address this scourge from different perspectives, in particular that of prevention, rehabilitation and accountability," said de Boer-Buquicchio.

"I will seek to help the Government of The Gambia to promote and protect the rights of children and evaluate the risks and forms of exploitation, along with the measures already adopted to fight the problem and examine the challenges that remain," she said.

The Special Rapporteur will address issues relating to children in travel and tourism, protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse involving information and communication technologies, as well as circumstances in which the sale of children can occur.

"I will reach out to child victims of abuse, violence and exploitation and to children in vulnerable situations, including those in institutions, children from minorities, in social care, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as undocumented, migrant children and others working and living in the street, to make sure their voices are heard by the Government and others," said de Boer-Buquicchio.

During her nine-day visit, the human rights expert will meet representatives of the Government, legislature and judiciary, as well as local and municipal authorities. She will also have meetings with the Ombudsperson, civil society organisations, representatives of the private sector, members of the international community, and representatives of the National Youth Council and Children's Parliament. She will visit the city of Banjul, the Greater Banjul area and the Lower River region.

The Special Rapporteur will also visit children's residential facilities, the Juvenile Wing and the shelter for the protection and support of child victims of violence and trafficking.

At the end of her visit, on 29 October 2019, the UN expert will share her preliminary observations at a press conference at 12:00 noon local time at UN House, 5 Kofi Annan Street, Cape Point, Bakau. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report at a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.

ENDS

Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio (Netherlands) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children by the UN Human Rights Council in May 2014 and her mandate was renewed in March 2017. She served as Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe between 2002 and 2012. Ms de Boer-Buquicchio spearheaded the adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. She is the President of the European Federation for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Gambia

For more information and media requests please contact:
In The Gambia, (during the visit): Ms Shushan Khachyan (+ 41 79 444 61 29 / skhachyan@ohchr.org)

In Geneva, (before and after the visit): Ms Shushan Khachyan (+41 22 917 9984 / skhachyan@ohchr.org) or write to srsaleofchildren@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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