July 30, 2018 3:26 pm

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (GCSP), Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, has said poverty should not be a basis for child trafficking by parents in the country.

She said childhood was only up to 18 years and parents and guardians must allow their children to enjoy their childhood.

The minister was addressing parents and stakeholders at the national commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking in persons also known as ‘’Blue Day’’ at Sege in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra Region.

The day was marked on the theme: ‘’Together we end human trafficking towards achieving the sustainable development goals through collaborative effort.’’

World Day Against Trafficking

The Gender Minister said as a nation, “we have lived with the phenomenon of child trafficking for far too long and it is time we took a collective decision and individual action to say no to human/child trafficking”.

She indicated that the ministry took the opportunity to commemorate the 2018 World Day Against Trafficking in Ada West because the district had been classified as a sending community.

She said a confirmation was the fact that out of 190 children who were rescued in fishing communities along the Volta Lake in 2017, 85 came from Ada West and East. She added that just last week, a good number of child shepherds were rescued from the Ada West District.

‘’We are urging parents, the Member of Parliament, the district chief executive (DCE), the regional minister and our chiefs to ensure that our children are not trafficked to Akosombo, Yeji, Kpando or Abotoase,” she added.

Grassroots approach

The minister said her ministry was implementing a grassroots community-based approach through intensified anti-human trafficking awareness-raising campaigns, with outreach programmes at identified hotspots, documentaries and advocacy programmes within trafficking-prone communities to prevent trafficking of persons, especially children.

Ms Djaba said the district assemblies must set up watchdog teams to look out for signs and actions of human trafficking, report, sensitise and provide support for legal aid, adding that: “A comprehensive response to addressing the entire trafficking chain will require vigilance and combined action by parents, victims, stakeholders, development partners and the ministry.’’

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, observed that in recent times, there seemed to be another emerging trend which was becoming a more subtle way by which the traffickers were able to lure unsuspecting victims to accept to seek greener pastures outside the country and in most cases to some of the oil-rich countries to serve in voluntary domestic servitude.

Mr Ashitey mentioned that the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol relating to the free movement of goods and services, as well as citizens was gradually turning to be a mixed blessing in the face of the human trafficking menace.

Tracking children

The DCE for Ada West, Mr Adzoteye Lawer Akrofi, said the district assembly, through the education directorate, had introduced a form to track the schoolchildren during vacation in order to enable follow-ups to be made on pupils who did not report to school after vacations.

Master Samuel Adi-Doe of the Sege Community Junior High School, who represented children in the Ada West District, said child trafficking and child labour in the area was a worry to them. He, therefore, appealed to the assembly and the Social Welfare Department to ensure that child trafficking was stopped.

The Paramount Chief of the Ada Traditional Area, Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III, said the traditional council would use the Ada Asafotufiam Festival to sensitise the entire Ada community to the effects of child trafficking as their contribution to end the menace.

Source: Graphic Online