Ghana not fully complying with anti-trafficking standards – US government

John Kerry, US Secretary of StateDespite making significant strides, Ghana is still struggling to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, says a new US report.

According to the US’ 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report,  the Ghanaian government has failed to provide any specialized anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officials.

“…the government failed to provide any specialized anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officials and did not provide sufficient funding to properly maintain government-operated shelters,” said the report which was launched June 19, 2013 by US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

The report noted that the Ghana government decreased efforts to protect victims. It says the anti-human trafficking unit (AHTU) of the Ghana Police Service’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) reported “identifying 262 victims, but only referring 33 on an ad hoc basis to government and NGO-run facilities offering protective care”.

“The government did not employ formal procedures to identify victims among vulnerable groups, such as women in prostitution or children at work sites,” the US report added.

During the reporting period, the US government indicated that Ghanaian authorities initiated 75 investigations, conducted five prosecutions, and secured three convictions of trafficking offenders.

Ghana has drafted a new five-year national action plan and continued to conduct information and education campaigns throughout the country.

In its recommendations, the US government urged Ghana to increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders.

The report also called on government to ensure that the Ghana Police’s AHTU has adequate resources to conduct law enforcement efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations—such as females in prostitution and children working in agriculture—and refer them to protective services.

Other recommendations for the Ghanaian government include adoption of the legislative instrument to implement effectively the 2005 Human Trafficking Act; Ensure the maintenance of government-operated shelters; Improve data collection and reporting on victims identified and assisted; Reinstate quarterly meetings of the Human Trafficking Management Board and provide adequate resources to the board to implement the National Plan of Action against Trafficking; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

The US report described Ghana as a country of origin, transit, and destination for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.

The trafficking of Ghanaians, particularly children, within the country, the report noted is more prevalent than the transnational trafficking of foreign migrants.

By Ekow Quandzie

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