Public Opinion is Clear: Urgent Legislation Required to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation! Read the story

Launch of the Global Boys Initiative: Boys In The Gambia Report

Posted on Aug 5, 2022

PRESS RELEASE: 5 August 2022


How do rigid gender norms and ambiguity in current laws place boys at risk of sexual exploitation in The Gambia? 

THE GAMBIAIn collaboration with the Child Protection Alliance and as part of ECPAT International’s Global Boys Initiative, ECPAT International is proud to announce the release of the Global Boys Initiative: The Gambia Report. This is the seventh in a series of ten country reports that explores the underreported issue of the sexual exploitation of boys. The Global Boys Initiative aims to improve global knowledge and inform legislative efforts to protect boys and gender-diverse children from sexual exploitation.  

This research was conducted in the form of a comprehensive analysis of the Gambian legal framework in relation to various crimes related to the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, with a focus on boys. The report identifies gaps in The Gambia’s legislation and outlines recommendations for improvement. Key findings from the report include: 

  • Discriminatory laws against homosexuality
    Gambian legislation criminalises homosexuality in both consensual and abusive situations, and does not exempt children from prosecution. This prevents boy survivors from seeking help, for fear of being treated as an offender, instead of a victim. 
  • Scope of Online Child Sexual Exploitation crimes
    While Gambian law criminalises online child sexual exploitation, gaps in the legislation fail to criminalise the possession of child sexual abuse materials and other forms of online exploitation, including live-streaming child sexual abuse and online grooming. 
  • Inadequate support services
    Current laws only outline requirements for rehabilitation and recovery services for child victims of trafficking, overlooking children who have been subjected to sexual exploitation crimes. 


Read the full report here.
Read the summary here.

For more information, please contact: 


About the Global Boys Initiative: 

At the 2016 Global Survivors Forum organised by ECPAT International, male survivor-advocates of sexual exploitation explained that services for boys were extremely rare, and even where services may include boys in their work, there is limited focus on addressing the specific characteristics, experiences and supports required by boys. 

In 2019 to delve into this, ECPAT co-authored an academic paper that looked at the global situation of sexual exploitation of boys. It showed that despite a growing global awareness that boys do experience sexual exploitation, and at greater rates than previously recognised, there is limited research available to fully tell this story. 

As the programmatic responses to identify and meet the particular needs of boys are scarce, ECPAT International launched the Global Initiative to explore the sexual exploitation of boys which activates our global network of member organisations in a range of research and response activities. 

Learn more about the Global Boys Initiative here. 


About ECPAT International: 

ECPAT International is a global network of over 122 civil society organisations, in over 100 countries, working towards the vision of ending the sexual exploitation of children. With over 30 years of experience in engaging with and managing multi-stakeholder processes and alliances across national, regional and global levels; ECPAT works to end the sexual exploitation of children. 


About Child Protection Alliance: 

The Child Protection Alliance in The Gambia was formed in April 2001 and was the first inter-agency collaborative institution on child protection in The Gambia. It currently has 35 member organisations, including UN agencies, bilateral institutions, NGOs, civil society organisations, child and youth organisations and government departments.