Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Caretaker Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has urged Ghanaians to fight human trafficking by reporting suspected cases.
She said human trafficking was an organised crime hence people should report to either the law enforcement agencies or the Department of Social Welfare, Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice or reputable Civil Society Organisations.
Mrs Dapaah said this in a speech read by Ms Abena Anobea Asare, Director, Human Trafficking Secretariat, Gender Ministry, on her behalf at the opening ceremony of a capacity building training and sensitisation forum for aviation staff.
The forum and training organised by the Gender Ministry in collaboration with the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, was on victim identification and compliance towards counter trafficking activities.
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 and abuse of power.
Mrs Dapaah said offenders found culpable of human trafficking were liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.
She said human trafficking, irregular migration and gender discrimination were cross cutting issues affecting men, women, children, and all vulnerable groups.
Mrs Dapaah noted that the country was classified as a receiving, transit and a sending country where fraudulent agents were sometimes aided by some officers at the airport and borders knowingly and unknowingly
‘‘There is evidence of cross boarder trafficking in Ghana especially for labour and sexual exploitation. Our girls are trafficked to most of the Gulf countries to be exploited sexually. Some come back with horrible news and detailed levels of abuses they have gone through because of fraudulent recruitment schemes,’’ she said.
The Caretaker Minister applauded the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service for successfully prosecuting four human trafficking offenders two weeks ago.
‘‘Interestingly, three of them are women and all of them were Nigerians. Everybody can be trafficked therefore see something and say something, since human trafficking is a security threat to any nation. Be vigilant and report all suspected cases of human trafficking,’’ she added.
Mr Daniel Acquah, Deputy Director- General, Technical, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said because air travel was a safe and quick means of transport to destinations worldwide, perpetrators utilise the airport to carry out such heinous crimes.
He said while prevention was the goal, raising awareness could also be used to combat trafficking and all forms of exploitation which would require the involvement and training of various stakeholders in identifying and responding to trafficking in persons.
Mr Acquah reiterated the need for the collective efforts of all stakeholders in the fight against trafficking in persons.
‘‘A common, unified, and collaborative approach amongst key stakeholders is needed to successfully disrupt human trafficking operations,’’ he said