September 29, 2020 6:39 am
As part of the implementation of the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the US Government, the Human Trafficking Secretariat under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with Free the Slaves an NGO, have successfully organized the 2nd National Symposium since the signage of the Child Protection Compact (CPC) agreement in 2015 on Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 at the GNAT Hall, Accra.
The National Symposium was to take stock of the preventive efforts in the implementation processes in terms of achievements, challenges and the way forward in implementing other programmes. The aim of the dialogue was to also assess if the CPC project has made impact in Ghana especially in the three project regions – Central, Volta and Greater Accra and the extended Region, Oti and Bono East.
The Objectives of the symposium were to:
i. Create public awareness on the nature and Scope of Child Trafficking in Ghana
ii. Improve understanding of what government, civil society organizations (CSOs) and International organizations (INGOs) have done to combat Child Trafficking in Ghana
iii. Reflect on the implementation of the CPC by various stakeholders and how to respond to similar collaborative programmes
iv. Develop strategies to deepen stakeholder partnership in implementing programs.
v. Improve coordination and collaboration among stakeholders
In a statement read on behalf of the Chief Director, Dr. Afisah Zakariah, by the Head of the Human Trafficking Secretariat of the Ministry, Madam Abena Annobea Asare said Ghana has proved that it has the potential to reduce child trafficking through improved coordination, enhanced investigations and prosecutions and that Ghana’s legislative and policy framework for child protection has been strengthened over the past years through the Standard Operating procedure tools developed.
According to her it is a priority for both Ghana and the USA to combat human trafficking as it is a global canker and that signing of the Child Protection Compact Partnership was a significant step forward for both countries toward the elimination of child trafficking.
Madam Abena Annobea Asare said the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has harmonized their actions into the National Plan of Action for Human Trafficking and its related policies, practices and actions. Stating that, they have enhanced coordination and information sharing among key players in the field through experience sharing, grass root engagements and preventive efforts.
She recalled that, the compact agreement was signed on 23rd June, 2015 and the goal was to have a holistic approach to reduce child trafficking, prosecute and convict child traffickers and improve the quality of protection services for child victims.
Adding that the Ministry’s role was by then to provide leadership and coordinate the CPC Partnership Technical committee which has been done and the workplan of the Ministry under the project had eight (8) key objectives with various roles and responsibilities in the partnership agreement which has helped to connect all the 4 Ps together.
On behalf of the Ministry, she expressed their gratitude to the champions who have led the fight against human trafficking in Ghana. she therefore called on all to put their sustainable plans in place to ensure that they get better with their efforts as Government and Civil Society Organizations to address child trafficking and forced labour in Ghana.
Mr. Joha Braimah, West Africa Regional Director for Free the Slaves in his statement said that no country is immune to traffickers and human trafficking and Ghana is no exception.
According to him the 2020 Trafficking in Persons report from the U.S State Department notes that about 118,000 victims of trafficking have been identified globally; a 24% increase from previous year’s report. Mr. Joha Braimah said available data however suggest that prevalence is much higher, and is highest in Africa with 7.6 victims of trafficking for every thousand people.
The West Africa Regional Director of Free the Slaves, Mr. Joha Braimah emphasized on some of the experiences on the ground and challenges highlighted by the project working group in the past which has now seen a significant improvement. He said the project working team noted that some challenges including inadequate logistics for instance vehicles for investigation, victim support and protection amongst others are areas which still needs critical attention.
The Charge D’Affaires of the US Embassy in Ghana, Mr. Christopher Lamora on behalf of the US Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Stephanie S. Sullivan reiterated the U.S Government’s efforts to the fight against Human Trafficking across the world and mentioned the Child Protection Compact Agreement of the US Government and the Ghana Government as one of their efforts to help fight against the Human Trafficking menace.
He commended all stakeholders who are putting in soo much effort to combat human trafficking throughout the world. He therefore called for a stronger collaboration between stakeholders to ensure that all children of Ghana grow up Free of Human Trafficking in order to achieve their aim in life.
Two Survivors of Human Trafficking also called on Government and the various agencies responsible for Human Trafficking to intensify their awareness raising campaigns at the grassroot, enforce laws to punish offenders and support vulnerable Ghanaian families to build community resistance to human trafficking as well as child trafficking.
They have therefore appealed to Government to create National Human Trafficking Hotlines that will enable Ghanaians report suspected cases of trafficking.
The IOM, Counter Trafficking Project Manager, Victoria Klimova touched on the CPC project Implementation whilst the Executive Director for International Needs Ghana, Mr. Cromwell Awadey also spoke on the implementing partners as the frontlines stakeholders.
The Deputy Director at the Department of Social Welfare, Madam Fredericka Owuani, Chief Superintendent Mike Baah of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Superinteindent Alberta Ampofo of the Anti-Human Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service and the Child Labour Unit Director, Madam Elizabeth Akanbombire also informed participants on the successes, challenges and way forward from their respective organisations to help combat the human trafficking menace.
There was a brief panel discussion by some Community Members and CSO’s on the various activities that are being carried out at the various communities and the way forward to help achieve their desired goals.
Human trafficking can end, let us all work together as a team.
Source: MoGCSP