Wednesday, January 9, 2013

'Leave Our Young Girls Alone'

Fight Against Sexual Exploitation (Credit: CSL Cartoonstock)
It is yet another NaYCONF, The Gambia’s 10th National Youth Conference and Festival. This edition is being hosted by the provincial town of Bansang in Central River Region (CRR).

Government officials and more than 1500 delegates from all the seven regions of the country are attending, ready for the wide range of meaningful activities that seek to transform the lives of the country's young people.

A youth conference, sports of various disciplines, exhibition, cultural activities and entertainment shows are some of the events lined up for the weeklong NaYCONF.

However, at such gatherings, often not mentioned in loud voices is the behaviour of some adults towards young persons, especially girls for sexual exploitation, Local journalist Sulayman Ceesay in Bansang, CRR, told The North Bank Evening Standard.

One person, who is not losing sight of this fact, is Edrisa Janko, the head boy of Bansang Senior Secondary School, the host venue, where a host of legally yet-to-be marriageable boys and girls are gathered.

According to journalist Ceesay, to more than one interviewer, Janko expresses his fears - an indication that his views are shared by many. And to those bent on exploiting young persons of his community, his message is clear: “Please leave our young, school-aged girls alone”.

"In such a gathering," he said, referring to the NaYCONF, people come with different intentions. Therefore I am urging my fellow students; especially females to be extra careful as some only come with the intention of abusing girls.

I am equally advising the delegates to concentrate on how we can find solutions to the problems affecting young people in the country. I think this is the purpose of the whole thing, the Bansang head boy said.

Advising students to avoid attracting unnecessary attention, Janko called on his fellow students to observe a high standard of self-esteem, discipline and modesty.

The North Bank Evening Standard understands that there have been reports of sexual abuse of young girls in previous NaYCONFs. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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