Refuge Network International

Desperate Immigrants Resort to Scam , Human Trafficking and Drug Peddling in Senegal

Senegal is one of the most politically stable and peaceful countries in Africa and Senegalese are well-known for their hospitality.It is also undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in West Africa with a strategic location on the westernmost part of mainland Africa.However,the country has its own economic challenges and a high rate of unemployment.

As a major transit route for West African immigrants attempting to reach Europe by road via Morocco,Libya and Mauritania,there is a high number of Nigerian,Ghanaian,Liberian and other West African immigrants that are stranded in various parts of Senegal,especially in the capital,Dakar.Having run out of funds to continue their journey to Europe and with no means of going back to their own countries,some of these travellers settle in Senegal and out of desperation take to either cyber fraud,human trafficking or drug peddling to survive.

One of the most common forms of cyber frauds perpetrated by some of these individuals is the Romance Scam.Romantic letters soliciting love are sent to victims in Western countries with a view to first ensnaring them emotionally and then draining their accounts financially through a well concocted web of deception.Thousands of people have fallen for this trick and millions of Dollars have been lost to these fraudsters.A lot of lives and homes have been consequently ruined in the West as a result.

Another popular fraud is the Dakar Refugee Camp Scam.In this case the perpetrator poses as a victim in a refugee camp in Dakar Senegal and exploits that emotional edge to manipulate western victims to transfer large sums of money either by Western Union or via fraudulent bank accounts.This scam exists in various shades.The criminal who is most often a man,may present himself as a vulnerable female refugee in the camp seeking financial assistance to survive.He might also use the deceptive story of being the child or acquaintance of a rich late African leader with access to hidden millions in some foreign bank account.Criminals also use religious sentiments to lure victims by claiming to represent some fictitious religious organisations.

Human traffickers are also having a field day as they use this route to move their human cargo to Europe either via Morocco or through Libya.Some also choose to remain in the country to operate their prostitution ring here and in neighbouring West african countries.Visits to Kedougou in Senegal, Kayes and Mopti in Mali, as well as towns in Burkina Faso,Ivory coast,etc will unravel the shocking levels of human trafficking and forced prostitution being perpetrated by these desperate criminal gangs.Nigerian prostitutes,many of them under-aged,dominate the landscape.

Many also end up in the dangerous world of drug peddling.Some take to this purely out of greed and the desire to ‘hit it big’ within a short time,but the majority who end up selling drugs are sucked into the system out of desperation to survive.In a situation where they are not able to continue the journey towards Europe or go back home due to financial incapacitation,and faced with the prospect of a bleak existence without employment in Senegal,they become easy prey for drug lords to recruit and use in the thriving drug underworld.

Refuge Network International is focussed on reaching these various strands of immigrants.Our work is aimed at Re-orientation,Rehabilitation and Reintegration of those involved.


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