He said: “Though government did carry out investigations and some publicity campaigns, last year was marred by the complete lack of prosecutions or convictions of a single trafficker”.
He said the number of victims identified decreased, funding for law enforcement training was inadequate, and funding victim services and shelters is non-existent.
Ambassador Jackson, who was speaking at the launch of this year’s United Nations Day Against Human Trafficking celebration, said it is a tragedy for the victims who desperately need government’s help to escape that form of slavery and to see their captors appropriately punished.
The event, organised by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), was to throw more light on the menace of hum trafficking.
The 2016 Trafficking in Person Report ranked Ghana in Tier 2 Watch List country for the second year in a row, meaning the Government of Ghana did not meet the minimum enquired standards for preventing the trafficking in persons and has failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to do so.
Ambassador Jackson said under U.S. Law, any country designated as Tier 2 Watch List two years in a row must be automatically downgraded to Tier 3 the following year, unless the government shows more sufficient progress to warrant a Tier 2 or Tier 1 ranking.
“… A Tier 3 ranking comes with restrictions on our bilateral assistance programmes…as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, I certainly do not want to see our assistance to millions of Ghanaians disrupted. I do not want to see Ghana lose the second Millennium Challenge Compact, just as we are poised to help overcome the electricity shortage that is crippling economic growth,” he said.
Ambassador Jackson, therefore, commended the Ministry of Gender for announcing last week that security officers in border towns would receive training to help them identify potential child traffickers and trafficking victims.
He also commended the Ministry of Fisheries for seizing two vessels with children aboard working in dangerous conditions.
“I commend the investigators of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in the Regional Ghana Police Service Headquarters in Ho, Volta Region, but they need funds to get out of their offices and do their jobs.
“There are many more steps to be taken in the coming months: funding investigations and prosecutions; cracking down on fraudulent recruiting agencies; convicting and punishing traffickers; supporting and protecting those who have been victimised. It is a lot, but Ghana is not in an impossible position,” he said.
“It is certainly not a coincidence that an Under Secretary for National Security from the Bahamas and a Police Officer from Cyprus were recognised as anti-trafficking heroes by Secretary State John Kerry when he released this year’s report,” he added.
Ambassador Jackson said for the fact that slavery was once legal in America, it remained a shameful period in the history of America, and its repercussions are still being felt today.
He said after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and freed more than three million people… “we all wish that Proclamation had ended slavery in America forever, but it didn’t”.
“We still have human trafficking in America. We have modern-day slavery. And it is as wrong today as it ever was. We have a moral obligation to end it.
“That is why we take a holistic approach to combating trafficking, bringing together multiple government agencies, the private sector, civil society, faith communities, law enforcement, academics and, of course, survivors.
“We publish the trafficking in Persons Report because we believe we have a moral obligation to end slavery of any kind, anywhere, on this planet,” he said and urged the media to take up the campaign and interrogate recruiting agencies before putting up their adverts.
Source; GNA/News Ghana