Reverend Fred Deegbe, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), on Wednesday called on stakeholders responsible for ensuring that child labour and trafficking is combated to work hard to ensure that it is done swiftly.
“The laws of Ghana frown on child labor and trafficking,” he said.
Rev. Deegbe said despite efforts to curtail the menace in Ghana, it was evident the incidence was still on the increase and therefore needed prompt attention from law makers, law enforcers, security agencies, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, religious bodies, families parents and the citizenry.
“Child trafficking is the worse form of child labor and considering the numerous roles played by the Christian Council of Ghana, including being the voice of the voiceless, and human right activists among many others, we are particularly concerned about child labor and trafficking and the rate at which it was silently increasing and being relegated to the background,” he said.
Rev. Deegbe made the call at a workshop for the presentation and validation of a research report on baseline survey on child trafficking in selected districts of the Greater Accra Region. It was initiated by the CCG and conducted by Devtplan Consult.
He admonished that children were a gift of God hence all parents, no matter the financial difficulty, must endeavor to cater for their children and give them the best they could instead of selling them out to jeopardize their future.
The research was aimed at establishing a brief status of the situation in the selected communities to institute general baseline indicators of the various worst forms of child labor relative to national situation.
The survey report defined child labor as indulging a child in any work that was mentally, physically, and morally dangerous and harmful to children which interfere with their schooling, depriving them of schooling, obliging them to drop out of school and requiring them to attempt to combine schooling with excessively long and heavy work.
The report cited poverty, broken homes and single parenting, high illiteracy rate, non availability of farming lands, dwindling fortunes in marine fishing and booming fishing industry along the Volta Lake and demand for cheap labor in the fishing industry as the reasons for child labor and trafficking.
“Child labor and trafficking has negative effects on the development and well being of the children. Most of them become school dropouts, find it difficult to regenerate into their communities, develop psychological problems as a result of painful experiences among many others.” It said.
The survey recommended that preventive measures and mechanisms that would reduce the menace and its social risks should be instituted.
It also recommended that the regeneration of rescued children into society should be the priority of all stakeholders and the creation of direct action to ensure the removal, recovery and reintegration of working children whose rights were most compromised.
The surveillance team of the Christian Council of Ghana also advocated that rescued children should be enrolled on the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program to ensure that they were taken care of to avoid them returning to where they had been rescued from for lack of choice.
It said it was making this advocacy because the parents of the rescued children had absolved themselves of the responsibility of taking care of them.
According to the surveillance team, the parents had taken such a position because they felt that the team was to take care of the children since they brought them back.
A representative of the Social Welfare Department said that it was a good idea but those children could only be put on the program only after meeting the laid down requirements
In attendance were rescued children and their parents and head masters of schools in the affected areas.