40 million people are into modern slavery globally

Mr Bismarck Quartey
Mr Bismarck Quartey

The fight against trafficking in humans around the world seems insurmountable, despite global efforts to tackle the menace.

According to the United Nations (UN) latest statistics, globally, more than 40 million people are into modern slavery with 71 per cent of victims being women and girls, while 23 per cent are children.

Approximately, 20 million trafficked people are into forced labour, 15 million in forced marriages and four million in sexual exploitation.

Mr Bismarck Quartey, Senior Country Manager of the Free the Slaves (FTS), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) who revealed the figures said 25 per cent human trafficking occurred in Africa.

Speaking at a two-day media training on human trafficking and modern slavery underway in Kumasi and being organised by the FTS, Mr Quartey, said traffickers generated US$150 billion illicit profits annually.

FTS is an NGO which uses experience, insight, and evidence developed on the front lines, to advocate stronger anti-trafficking laws, and increased funding of anti-slavery programmes.

Being attended by 10 journalists, and other partners, the training focuses on human trafficking, human right dimension, and overcoming the challenges in reporting human trafficking cases.

It would expose reporters to international and national anti-slavery laws, and commitments by the government to protect vulnerable groups.

Mr Quartey said victims and survivors trafficked were mostly engaged in agriculture, fishing, mining, manufacturing, domestic and commercial sex work and others.

He however, mentioned economic globalization, growing human population, extreme poverty, migration, racial and ethnic discrimination and inequality for women and girls, and armed conflicts as some of the causes that fuelled human trafficking around the world.

Though Mr Quartey could not provide global statistics on prosecutions, he said out of the 9,523 identified victims in West Africa only 811 of the cases were prosecuted in 2014 with 317 convictions.

“In 2019, convictions in West Africa were between 327 and 382 out of the 2,198 identified cases, and this shows more traffickers in West Africa go unpunished”, he said.

Ghana, he added, was however doing well in combating human trafficking, saying the country increased her identification of victims and survivors of 9,523 in 2014 to 28,532 in 2020.

He explained the nation made gains in her protection, prevention and partnership strategies, but regretted prosecution of traffickers still remained a huge national challenge.

Mr Quartey said the role of the media remained essential in the fight against trafficking in persons, and asked the media to support the government by intensifying public education on causes and effects to help bring the situation under control.

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