The Deputy Regional Minister, Gifty Eugenia Kusi, has reminded all Ghanaians that by the provisions of the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694), human trafficking is illegal.
Ms Kusi, therefore, warned all parents, individuals and recruiting agencies to desist from the practice before the law catches up with them.
She was speaking at an education and sensitization durbar for stakeholders in the Western Region.
The Durbar, organized by Engage Now Africa, an international NGO that focuses on ending poverty in Africa, was on the theme: “Ghana @60: “Is There Any Future For Our Children And Youth?”
In attendance were traditional authorities, civil society organizations, heads of departments of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), opinion leaders, fisher folks, farmers and school children.
Ms Kusi noted that the wealth of the area was breeding child labour in fishing, farming, illegal mining, child prostitution and domestic servitude; among others.
She said according to Global Slavery Index 2016, there were over 100,000 people trapped in modern slavery or human trafficking in Ghana, most of whom were trafficked to countries such as United State of America, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Qatar and Libya with most of them dying on the high seas while others suffered all forms of abuses due to the work they were forced to do, such as drug peddling and prostitution.
Madam Kusi, therefore, pledged Government’s preparedness to work together with all stakeholders and civil society organizations to create the enabling environment that could nurture children and youth for a better tomorrow.
She expressed the hope that government’s interventions such as Planting for Food and Jobs, One-District One-Factory, 1million dollars for each Constituency, the Zongo Development Fund, and LEAP, among others, would go a long way to curb the menace of child trafficking.
She, on behalf the Regional Co-ordinating Council, pledged support for the Child Protection and Youth Empowerment programme by working closely with the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Immigration Service to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of child labour and modern slavery to serve as a deterrent to others.
Ms Kusi added that as stakeholders, it was their responsibility to serve the interest of children as they continued to solve problems relating to their growth and development.
The Chairman for the occasion and Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, urged Ghanaians to evaluate some of their obsolete customs that impeded development, with a view to reforming them.
On his Part, the Director of End Modern Slavery, Mr David Kofi Awusi, said their main objective was to engage and strengthen individuals, families and communities to end poverty by instilling hope and teaching principles of sustainability in education, self support assistance, clean water, medical services, orphan support and eradication of modern slavery.
Mr Awusi urged Government to adopt an all-inclusive approach in combating child labour by prioritizing efforts to eliminate forced labour in fishing and farming, child prostitution and sex tourism, head portering or “kayaye”, forced or child marriage and child domestic work.
According to the Ghana Living Standard Survey 2013, out of the 2.4 million children population aged 5-17, 1.86 million of them, representing 21% are victims of child labour.
A communiqué issued at the end of the Durbar, therefore, touched on education and sensitization, awareness creation, compulsory education for children of school going age, family planning, counseling for parents on child labour in farming and fishing communities among others.
Source: ISD (Fredrick Senu-Richards)