By Pierre Njie
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), on Friday 7 February 2020 launched the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for the protection and assistance of vulnerable migrants in The Gambia. The ceremony was held at the held at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia.
Speaking at the ceremony, the IOM Chief of Mission in The Gambia; Ms. Fumiko Nagno revealed from January 2017 to December 2019; the IOM has seen the return of more than 5,000 migrants mainly from Libya, Niger; Mali and North Africa respectively.
She said several returnees have been identified as being vulnerable, adding that there are 204 cases of returnees who are in need of health assistance;168 female returnees are vulnerable; 56 identified victims of trafficking (VOT); 33 cases of unaccompanied and separated Migrants Children (UASC) and 14 cases of returnees are elderly (aged 60 and above).
“Today’s launching of the NRM will see IOM support the government of The Gambia in meeting the specific needs of vulnerable migrants. These migrants comprise; victims of trafficking; unaccompanied and separated children; migrants with health need (including those with mental and psychological needs); stranded migrants; elderly returnees; returnees with disabilities; parent returnees; asylum seekers and women;” she explained.
She stressed that the NRM will bring together and strengthen multi-disciplinary protection services through targeted capacity building and development of standardised guidelines for all service providers to identify and refer vulnerable returning migrants and victims of trafficking.
She highlighted that IOM is closely working with the National Agency Against Trafficking In Persons (NAATIP) to curb out the menace of trafficking in persons.
She warned that those engaging in the practice will be prosecuted if caught.