4th September 2020

Success Bringing Home 38 Trafficked Gambian Women & Children from Lebanon’s Kafala System

Aim: Through coordinated efforts and advocacy led by Lovette Jallow, Action for Humanity is dedicated to ensuring the safe repatriation of all women and two children. Our comprehensive approach involves providing immediate assistance and support upon their return to Gambia, including access to shelter, healthcare, legal aid, and psychosocial services.

Identifying the Urgent Need:

Action for Humanity’s Mission to Assist Trafficked Gambian Women in Lebanon’s Kafala System

Action for humanity Sweden

Initiation and Advocacy

  • The initiative stemmed from the organization’s proactive stance against human rights abuses, particularly the ‘kafala’ system, highlighted in a video campaign.
  • 2 Gambian women affected by the Kafala system reached out to Lovette Jallow for assistance after seeing her viral video condemning anti-Blackness in Lebanon. They sought her advocacy with the Gambian government to facilitate their return home.
  • Lovette Jallow’s advocacy efforts started with engaging with the Gambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local organizations in Lebanon to secure safe housing for the women and hasten the repatriation process promised by the Gambian Foreign Ministry many months before the Beirut explosion.  For some of the women, they had been stranded and ignored for over 4 years.
  • For over nine months, most of the women were unable to leave Lebanon as their travel documents had been confiscated, and the consulate was unable to assist or provide legal aid. They expressed frustration over the lack of support from the Gambian Consulate in Beirut, leaving them to fend for themselves under challenging circumstances.
  • Upon receiving distressing evidence of the dire living conditions faced by the women, including inadequate housing, food scarcity, and overcrowded accommodations, our immediate priority was to provide urgent financial assistance. Recognizing the urgent need, we swiftly arranged for funds to be sent to the women, enabling them to purchase essential food supplies.
  • Lovette Jallow took decisive action by authorizing the immediate transfer of funds and initiating contact with the Foreign Ministry and Consulate in Lebanon, which had previously disregarded the plight of these women.

Facilitation of Repatriation

  • The organization coordinated the repatriation of 38 Gambian women, including two children, from Beirut, Lebanon to Dakar, Senegal, en route to their respective homes in the Gambia.
  • Upon arrival in Dakar, the women were warmly received by collaborators of Action for Humanity in the Gambia.
  • Action for Humanity covered the cost of air tickets for each woman and provided buses and catered food before transport from Dakar airport into the Gambia.
  • Upon arrival in Gambia, Lovette had to contact members within the Gambian government to ensure the women’s buses were finally allowed to board the ferry into Gambian soil, despite being denied entry.

Actions Taken (these are just some of the actions)

  • After arrival, Lovette Jallow and her NGO distributed about one million Dalasi (20,000 Dollars) amongst the women as a means to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic for food and any other expenses they may need to have whilst resettling back.
  • This excludes costs spent separately on:
    • Paying for rent for the women to have a safe place to stay in Lebanon
    • cover costs of food and other essentials.
    • Advocating for the rights of women and children, particularly within the context of the Kafala system, while also undertaking educational initiatives to raise awareness and sensitivity surrounding this issue
    • Buses in Lebanon to take them to the airport
    • Hired a lawyer in Lebanon knowledgeable in the law.
    • Enlist, hire and pay project managers in Gambia and dakar to facilitate the repatriation with experience of sensitisation and the kafala system.
    • Plane tickets for all women
    • Buses in Dakar
    • Taxis to take them all individually home i Gambia.

Overcoming Challenges

  • Despite initial challenges with government cooperation, Action for Humanity obtained approval from its Board of Directors to independently undertake the repatriation mission, ensuring timely and effective intervention.
  • Legal support and counselling services were arranged for the repatriated women to address their rights and interests and provide assistance in seeking justice for the abuses they endured in Lebanon.

Ongoing Support

  • Action for Humanity remains committed to providing ongoing social, economic, and financial support to the repatriated women, facilitating their reintegration into society.
  • The organization urges the Gambian Government to take urgent steps to address human trafficking within the country and implement programs empowering youth and women to prevent future exploitation.

Acknowledgment and Gratitude

  • Action for Humanity acknowledges the invaluable support received from diverse Gambian communities and expresses gratitude to its Board of Directors and the Swedish Government for their cooperation in the repatriation efforts.
  • In January of 2021, The Gambian National Assembly convened and commended Lovette Jallow’s NGO for its hard work in repatriating the stranded women home, highlighting the importance of the mission despite the challenges faced.

Statement from Gambian National assemby thanking Lovette Jallow

For more information, here are a few articles on the project:

Beirut explosion: Gambia accused of ignoring plight of domestic workers stuck in Lebanon

Gambian migrant workers repatriated after months stranded in Lebanon

The Gambian National assembly commends Action For Humanity

Lovette Jallow “Allegedly” threatens the Gambian government

Video of the women speaking in Mandinka, Fula, Jola, English and Wolof for all the Gambians to listen to their voices.





Sweden Protests Against Libyan Migrant Trafficking – Organized by Lovette Jallow

Project Images