July 26, 2019 1:58 pm

The Human Trafficking Secretariat under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, held a workshop as part of the celebration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (Blue day) at the Accra City Hotel on Friday, 26th July, 2019, with support from the British High Commission and the Coalition of NGOs Against Child Trafficking (CNACT).
The purpose of the workshop was to review achievements in fighting Human Trafficking and engaging in counter trafficking activities, the challenges the Ministry and partners face; the gaps in legislation, and plan a better strategy towards the fight against human trafficking and irregular migration.

Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, speaking at the workshop, urged stakeholders to put in more efforts into preventing cases of Human Trafficking by educating and encouraging attitudinal change in Ghanaians, especially concerning migration in search of greener pastures.
She continued by saying that though there have been significant success in the rescue and rehabilitation of survivors, it would be infinitely safer and practical to raise awareness about human trafficking and educate individuals about the various methods used by traffickers in luring victims and the realities of human trafficking.
In some cases, rescued victims of human trafficking are unable to aid in the prosecution of the perpetrators because they are afraid and these people end up escaping the law, she added.

In spite of these challenges, the Ministry together with partners and stakeholders will work tirelessly to raise awareness and ensure that traffickers are adequately punished.
She added that the government is committed to the cause and has put in place policies that will expand quality education and create more opportunities for the youth to decrease their vulnerability like Free SHS and Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE).
As part of her welcome statement, the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Freda Prempeh, urged Ghanaians to be vigilant and join the cause by reporting any suspected cases to the law enforcement agencies for investigation.

The Ministry, she continued, has developed the Human Trafficking National Plan of Action (NPA) which is a comprehensive document to support the effective implementation of the HT Act of 2005, Act 694. The Plan of Action covers all the thematic areas: Prevention, Protection and Partnership.
Unlike in 2017, when there were only 4 convictions, the Anti Human Trafficking Units in the Ghana Police and Immigration Services in 2018, had 20 convictions for offences of human trafficking and 12 other related offences. Out of the total, 14 individuals were charged and convicted for child labor exploitation and fined with 120 units whilst 10 individual defendants were charged with human trafficking offences and jailed for 5-7 years. There are two public shelters for victims of human trafficking, one for adult female victims which is operational and receiving victims and a children shelter.The Ministry has four psychologists managing these shelters to ensure the survivors get the support they can.

Through these efforts, Ghana is currently ranked a tier 2 country on the United States of America Department of Labor tier ranking of countries. This shows that Ghana is making great headway in combating human trafficking but there is however, still a sizeable number of trafficking cases to grapple with.
”In my opinion, the law is robust enough but we need more coordination efforts and support to implement it to the later without any interference”, she added.

Thomas Hartley, the Deputy High Commissioner from the British High Commission stated that though almost every country in the world has national anti-trafficking laws people continue to be trafficked, majority being women and girls. He however noted the progress made by Ghana in combating Human Trafficking and added that the United Kingdom is partnering with the country to protect the most vulnerable in the ‘Leave no one behind’ program.

A key component of the program supports a centralized channel for people to report grievances or violations and request information or help.
He added that the UK will continue to support government as it moves to implement the anti-trafficking and human trafficking measures set out in its legislation.
”Ending human trafficking is a shared goal. It is up to us to work together and stop it”, he concluded.
The coordinator of CNACT, Mr. Leo Ackon, stated that trafficking, especially in the realm of child exploitation has been labeled as part of the Ghanaian culture which is false and damaging to the rich Ghanaian culture and should be removed.

He asked parents to send children to school and provide them with opportunities they need to thrive in the society. He called on the general public to protect vulnerable children from traffickers and not turn a blind eye to suspicious situations.
Nana Ayimadu Brempong, Chief of the Adjena Akwamu Traditional area pledged to gift the Ministry with land to build facilities that will help in the rescue and rehabilitation of survivors, especially around the Volta Lake.

Source: MoGCSP