BANJUL (AFP) – The Gambia introduced a raft of new laws on Tuesday criminalising male prostitution, cross-dressing and the singing of abusive songs in public.
The move reflects the “current socio-political realities” in the impoverished west African nation, Justice Minister Lamin Jobarteh told parliament, before lawmakers signed off on amendments to the criminal code act which also outlaw being irritating in public and “refusing to maintain” oneself.
Any man or boy who solicits, is “attired in the fashion of a woman” in a public place or who “practises sodomy as a means of livelihood or as a profession” now faces a hefty fine and jail term of up to five years.
A sliver of land nestled within Senegal with a narrow strip of Atlantic coast, Gambia is ruled with an iron fist by President Yahya Jammeh, who is often accused of muzzling journalists, among other rights abuses.
Charities in the former British colony say that since Asian countries tightened up their regulations it has become a target for unscrupulous tourists looking for sex with children.