Amnesty International joins child trafficking campaign
Amnesty International (AI) Ghana, on Tuesday joined the campaign against child trafficking in Ghana with a call for multifaceted strategy to expose perpetuators of the inhumane activities.
Mr Lawrence Amesu, AI Country Director noted that trafficking is criminal and prohibited under the Human Trafficking Act (Act 694) of 2005 and the Children’s Act of 1998, stressing that it is the civic responsibility of every individual to report all trafficking issues to the police.
He said any person who failed to inform the police committed an offence and was liable to summary conviction to a fine of not less than 250 penalty units or term of imprisonment not less than 12 months or both.
Speaking at public forum organised to sensitize strategic partners including media personnel, prison officials, educationist, lawyers, and civic advocates, Mr Amesu said the police had the responsibility to offer protection in a case of trafficking.
He said any police officer who refused to act on such a complaint shall face disciplinary action.
Mr Tuinese Edward Amuzu, Executive Director, Legal Resources Centre who spoke on the Human Trafficking Act, said a person with information about trafficking was obligated to inform either the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice or the Department of Social Welfare.
Other institutions include the Legal Aid Board or a reputable Civil Society Organisation.
Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an Investigative Journalist spoke on the perspective of investigative journalists on child trafficking in Ghana.
In an interview with Ghana News Agency on the impact of Child Trafficking in Ghana, Dr Edmund N. Delle, President of the African Commission for Health and Human Rights Promoters (CAPSDH) expressed concern about the alarming rate at which child trafficking is going on in most parts of the country and called for urgent steps to check the trend before it gets out of hand.
He said in Ghana, children and their families were often unaware of the dangers of trafficking; believing that better employment and living conditions awaited them in other parts of the country especially the Southern Sector.
He said trafficking always violated the child’s right to grow up in a family environment adding: “Children who have been trafficked face a range of dangers, including violence and sexual abuse.”
Dr Delle noted that global watchdog statistics indicates that children from Ghana, Togo, Mali and Burkina Faso are trafficked to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Gabon.
He said some of these children mostly between 10 and 15 years were being used as housemaids, farmhands and in other difficult economic activities, whiles others were sexually abused.
Dr Delle attributed the problem of child trafficking in the country to a number of factors including poverty, desire to get rich quick, poor enforcement regime of laws protecting children and broken homes.
CAPSDH President therefore called on the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to take the necessary steps to liberate the innocent children who are being held in bondage through no fault of theirs.
He also acknowledged that the problem of child trafficking does not rest solely with the ministry alone but rather a national problem that should engage the attention of all Ghanaians.
Dr Delle appealed to media practitioners, security agencies, district assemblies, traditional authorities and non-governmental organisations to team up in the fight against child trafficking.
He also called for intensification of sensitization workshops at endemic communities to bring the situation under control, whilst calling for stiffer punishments for traffickers.