The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, on Tuesday expressed concerns over culture of silence in The Gambia which affects victims of sexual violation.

“The complaints have been withdrawn, there were settlements amongst families of perpetrators and victims because of something that has to do with stigma and they don’t want to be identified,” Boer-Buquicchio told journalists at UN House in Bakau after concluding a nine-day visit to assess the scope of sale and sexual exploitation in the West African country.

She ranked the culture of silence as a very big issue and urged the need for resensitization of society to allow children to speak up to make parents understand that these are crimes that should be prosecuted.

Among her findings, she found the tourism sector to be a leading area of sexual exploitation in the west African country and blamed parents for not taking greater care of their children.

“Sometimes the parents are complicit. They perhaps start asking their children to sell bananas on the beach and when it comes to further financial gains by selling their bodies, they are not necessarily stopped by their parents. It is important to sensitize the whole of the population.” Enditem

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