The Ministry of Transport has reiterated its commitment to ensure that the Ghana’s civil aviation is not used for human trafficking and its related activities.
It said it would continue to deepen collaboration with relevant stakeholders to pursue strategies to ensure that human trafficking was curbed.
Dr Frederick Adom Obeng, a Deputy Minister of Transport said this at the opening ceremony of a capacity building training and sensitisation forum for aviation staff in Accra.
Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, trading or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation, including prostitution, servitude and removal of organs, within and across national borders.
People are trafficked by the use of threat, other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power and unknowingly.
Mr Obeng said safety and security were the backbone of the aviation industry, however, human trafficking was one of the gravest problems affecting migration and human rights with detrimental effects on national security.
He noted that the aviation industry was one of the transportation routes used by trans-national criminal immigrants whose activities included trafficking and other kinds of illegal trade such as smuggling.
The Deputy Minister said cases of trafficking were reported on daily basis around the globe and data available consistently showed that women and children were the most affected.
Hence, he called for steps to be taken to implement measures to combat trafficking, protect the safety and security of the aviation industry with the focus of safeguarding women and children.
Mr Obeng said the industry provided the only rapid world-wide transportation network essential for global business, and supported economic growth, created jobs and facilitated international trade and tourism.
The Deputy Minister said the Ministry’s vision was to make the country the aviation hub within West Africa sub-region to open the country up to improve air connectivity, boost trade and tourism.
“We would see that last week, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo commissioned the Sunyani Airport. We would also note that the Kumasi Airport and the Tamale Airport are all being labelled as international standards,” he said.
The Ministry, Mr Obeng said, in collaboration with the GCAA made tremendous strides in ensuring proper regulation of the sector to maintain high aviation safety and security standards in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
“We’re committed to the provision of the needed support and facilitate an enabling environment for fighting human trafficking,” Mr Obeng said.
Assistant Commissioner of Immigration Edith Penelope Arhin, Commander of Kotoka International Airport, said the Service was the first point of contact for entry and exit of persons and also one of the key stakeholders in combating human trafficking in the country.
“Our mandate as a Service of facilitating legitimate travel and protecting human rights makes curbing trafficking in persons a paramount undertaking for us as a law enforcement agency,” she said.
The Commander said human trafficking and smuggling were interlinked, since it usually morphed into human smuggling.
She said the Service established the Anti-Human Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons (AHSTIP) Unit to contribute to the fight against the menace.
Madam Arhin said it also provided protection and assistance to victims of human trafficking by giving them shelter whiles investigations were ongoing and ensured that their rights were fully respected.
She called on agencies to collaborate effectively and partner international, Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations and support joint investigations into trafficking crimes to eradicate it.