Ghana avoids Tier 3 downgrade for action on human trafficking

Last year when the US released its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) 2016 report, Ghana was classified as a Tier 2 Watch List Country, which meant that the government did 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.

The US government warned that if Ghana didn’t act to curb the incidence and stayed at Tier 3 for three consecutive years, the country faced the risk of being downgraded to Tier 3.

“A Tier 3 ranking indicates that a government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and is not making significant efforts to do so,” a press release from the US Embassy in Accra, copied to said.

The 2017 report released today June 27, however acknowledges the efforts by the government to act on human trafficking and has been granted a Tier 3 Waiver.

According to a release from the Embassy in Accra, says in calendar year 2016, the Government of Ghana did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but made significant efforts to do so.

“The Trafficking Victims Protection Act provides for a waiver to remain on the Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year if the government develops a national plan of action to combat human trafficking and dedicates sufficient resources for its implementation that, when implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards,” it said.

In July last year, Ghana launched the Human Trafficking Prohibition (Protection and Reintegration of Trafficked persons) Regulations, 2015, L.I. 2219.

The aim of the Act is to prevent and combat human trafficking, protect and assist victims of trafficking, investigate and prosecute offenders of human trafficking, collaborate and promote cooperation among stakeholders and civil society groups.

Meanwhile, the 2017 TIP report among others, has made the following recommendations for Ghana;

  • Increasing the number of traffickers held accountable for their crimes by providing sufficient support for the police, immigration service and attorney general’s office to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses;
  • Increasing government support for comprehensive trauma-informed care and reintegration services for children in government-operated shelters, including child sex trafficking victims; and
  • Implementing the national plan of action against trafficking with dedicated resources, including funding and implementation of the human trafficking fund.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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