The recruitment and/or movement of someone within or across borders, through the abuse of power/position with the intention of forced exploitation, commercial or otherwise, generates an amount of $150 billion every year for traffickers, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
There are about 21 million people enslaved worldwide, including children under 18 years accounting for 26 per cent of trafficked persons. The victims are forced into early marriage, prostitution and forced labour.
The Africa region has the second highest estimate of about 3.7 million persons enslaved. Asia and the Pacific have the highest number of people in modern slavery in the world – an estimated 11.7 million.
There are 1.5 million persons enslaved in the developed world, according to data provided by Free the Slaves, an organization working to free people in modern slavery around the world.
There are an estimated 103,300 people in modern slavery in Ghana – about 0.33 per cent of the population – with 85 per cent in forced labour and 15 per cent in forced marriage, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by the Walk Free Foundation.
The main industries of concern for forced labour in Ghana are farming and fishing, retail sales, manual labour and factory work, according to the Index. It also said an estimated 21,000 children work in fishing along the Volta Lake and its environs.
Information available elsewhere indicates that more than 190,000 people are currently victims of human trafficking in Ghana, and along the Volta Lake alone, more than 49,000 children are engaged in work.
Out of the number 21,000 are forced into hazardous labour that is very dangerous to their lives.
Ghana after coming under pressure from the US government to act against human trafficking, is waking up to its social responsibilities. The US issued threats to withhold non-humanitarian aid of above $1 billion.
Ghana is classified as Tier 2 Watch List country on the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report which includes narratives for 188 countries and territories, including the United States, meaning that the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in the past year.
According to US authorities, any country ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years must be downgraded automatically to Tier 3 in the third year unless it shows sufficient progress to warrant a Tier 2 or Tier 1 ranking. Ghana has been on Tier 2 for two consecutive years.
The country has launched the Human Trafficking Prohibition (Protection and Reintegration of Trafficked persons) Regulations, 2015, L.I. 2219, and set into motion a number of efforts to pay attention to the matter.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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