U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson; United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Mission Director, Andrew Karas; and other U.S. government officials visited a fishing community in Elmina today.
During the visit, they toured the Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association School and processing facility; and met with fisherfolk, anti-child labor and trafficking advocates, and former child laborers. USAID works with this and other fishing communities in Ghana to reduce child labor and trafficking.
The U.S. government, through USAID, is working with the Fisheries Commission and the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection to develop a strategy to decrease child labor in the fisheries sector. The work also increases awareness about the realities and dangers of child labor and trafficking through a targeted communications campaign. This campaign consists of events, rural drama performances, films, journalist trainings, radio programs, media outreach, and community outreach by anti-child labor and trafficking advocates and celebrity Anti-Child Labor and Trafficking Ambassador Adjetey Anang. In addition, USAID works with communities to increase incomes by promoting more responsible fishing practices, in order to rebuild dwindling fish stocks.
The U.S. Government 2016 Trafficking in Persons report, which was released by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in June, classified Ghana as a Tier 2 Watch List country for the second year in a row. This means that the Ghana government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. Under U.S. law, any country ranked Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years must be ranked Tier 3 in the third year unless it shows sufficient progress to warrant a Tier 2 or Tier 1 ranking. If Ghana is downgraded to Tier 3 in 2017, it may become subject to restrictions on U.S. development aid. The United States currently provides more than $140 million per year in development aid to Ghana.
“We are committed to partnering with the government of Ghana and communities to eliminate modern-day child slavery,” said USAID Mission Director Karas. “I am confident that if we all work together, we can reduce child labor and trafficking in the long term.”