Need for Ghana to end human trafficking

Human rights activists have described Trafficking of Persons as ''the heinous crime against humanity''. An ILO study conducted in 2015 puts the figure at 21 million people as victims of forced labour globally. Human trafficking is considered a crime that exploits women, children and men for multiple purposes especially labour and sex. Today, it is considered the World's second most lucrative form of employment, besides illicit drugs. Ironically, this is what makes the fight against the menace a very difficult one.

Some have argued that victims come from poor homes and are often promised better conditions by their so called employers. Unfortunately, this may not be entirely true because there are agents, middle persons and pimps who sponsor and negotiate prices of these victims. Stories have been told where women and children have been engaged in inhuman activities and very disturbing situations, in countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Often, the victims documents are seized on arrival, locked up and subjected to long hours of work in an environment where they cannot communicate due to language barrier. Obviously, a disturbing and indeed a rather sad scenario that families continue to allow their relatives, in some instances children to be treated as modern day slaves.

The least said about this disheartening situation, the better, as the psychological toll on victims is beyond measure. Some of them have returned home with devastating stories and some hit the point of becoming mentally deranged. This is a scenario that must definitely attract the attention for all to join the fight against Human Trafficking. The UN declared July 30 as the World Day Against Trafficking of Persons to draw attention to the need for a global approach to tackling the menace. Every country in the World is affected by human-trafficking .The UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking of Persons, has asked governments worldwide, to adopt coordinated and consistent measures to defeat the scourge.

Here in Ghana, the Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service has been at the front of the battle. However, it looks like a lot more work needs to be done. It is indeed a dent on Ghana's image for the US State Department to have listed Ghana as a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Ghana has therefore been placed on the watch list for three years in a role. Government must see this as critical, to push the fight harder to ensure that the human trafficking menace is nib in the bud. Credit goes to all stakeholders who have worked over the years to rescue innocent persons, especially children from inhuman circumstances. More especially, those exposed to dangerous situations in coastal areas, especially the Volta Lake. Mention can be made, and recommended for use elsewhere, of the Torkor Model, piloted in Kpando in the Volta Region. This model hinges on using a community centred approach to involve the traditional hierarchy to work at eliminating child trafficking. Ghana has many beautiful laws such as the Human Trafficking Act 2005, Act 694 and the Human Trafficking Prohibition Regulation 2015, LI.2219, yet implementation turns to be a nightmare.

To ensure that Human Trafficking is brought to the barest minimum, all hands must be on deck. Human trafficking is a violation of rights. For children, some have their education truncated, which has a long term negative impact on Ghana's human resource. The time to Prevent, Protect, Prosecute and Partner to battle trafficking of person in Ghana in NOW!!!

BY REBECCA EKPE, A JOURNALIST.

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