The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), through the Human Trafficking Secretariat (HTS), has called for increased action to protect victims of human trafficking and hold perpetrators to account.
Dr Afisah Zakariah, Director, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in a speech read on his behalf during the commemoration of World Day Against Human Trafficking in Persons, has called on traditional authorities, transport owners, assemblymen, market leaders, and all stakeholders to step up efforts in the fight against human trafficking.
He said the phenomenon, which has the potential to further increase the woes of victims, child exploitation, sexual exploitation, and smuggling of migrants through unapproved routes around the borders of the country should be curtailed at the source.
Dr Afisah stated, “this year’s event has been marked with a number of activities targeted at addressing the root causes of child exploitation.
These include a media campaign through the method of distribution of information, Education and communication materials (IE&C) aimed at raising awareness on the menace, a three -day capacity building training programme to equip 70 law enforcement agencies to understand the dimensions and urgency to end child trafficking, child labour, irregular migration, and all forms of exploitation.
The rest involved, stakeholder dialogues to review the progress made in the implementation of the Human Trafficking National Plan of Action, which spanned 2017 to 2020, and that “a technical working group was inaugurated to guide the process,” and the development of a communication strategy to improve all efforts in combating the menace.
The event which was held in Mepe in the North Tongu District of the Volta region, was on the theme: “Human Trafficking can end, the time is now! Take action to stop all forms of exploitation.”
The United Nations has declared July 30 as the World Day against Human Trafficking in persons, also known as ‘Blue Day’, to raise awareness on the dangers associated with human trafficking, worst forms of child labour and all forms of exploitation.
Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, in her keynote address said “Ghana has chalked many successes and is rated on tier two ranking according to the US Department of Labour Country rankings. This shows Government is making significant efforts in the fight against human trafficking.”
He said consequences of trafficking in human beings on the individuals and families include the victim’s disappearance, death or permanent damage to physical and mental health, breaking families apart, among others.
A representative from the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Ghana Police Service, in a solidarity message, said the unit had undertaken steps to educate the public on the activities of perpetrators of human trafficking offences.
He appealed to stakeholders and other groups to help fight the canker.
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) said over 500 girls were detected as victims from January to date.
They urged parents and guardians to be on the alert for those who come with sweet promises of engaging their children for greener pastures elsewhere.
The chiefs, on their part, also appealed for more support to equip them with the needed information to move into action in fighting the crime.
North and Central Tongu Districts of the Volta region are identified as enclaves for human trafficking.
Globally, the theme for this year is “Victim Voices Lead the Way.”
The event was attended by Chiefs and Queenmothers, assembly members, Health Directors, Transport unions, students, youth groups, NGOs, officials from the Department of Gender, Social Welfare and heads of decentralised institutions.