EU launches €18m project to fight human trafficking  

The European Union (EU), in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection and Expertise France, has launched a regional project to support the fight against human trafficking.

The project, dubbed: “Support the fight against human trafficking in the states of the Gulf of Guinea,” is co-funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa with €17.4 million and Expertise France with €0.6 million.

The project is being executed in six countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea.

The four-year project is aimed at supporting the authorities and civil society in the fight against human trafficking through the protection of vulnerable people and victims, and the prosecution of traffickers.

The project would also support a better inter-ministerial coordination and collaboration between organisations and regional cooperation.

The project would be implemented with the Human Trafficking Secretariat, based at the Gender Ministry, with the mission to preventing and combating trafficking cases in Ghana.

A speech read on behalf of Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison, the Sector Minister, commended the sponsors for supporting the initiative, saying the project would help support the fight against human trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea.

Ghana, over the years, has been a receiving, transit and a destination country.

Also, the Gulf of Guinea is characterised by a pattern of cross-border and irregular migration, human trafficking, and child exploitation, which needed concerted efforts to address.

The Minister explained that trafficking was multifaceted and covered several situations from debt bondage, exploitation, and organised crime, which called for a holistic approach to address.

The Human Trafficking Act, 2005, Act 694, was enacted towards prevention, reduction and punishment of human trafficking offences for the rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked persons and related matters.

The Human Trafficking Secretariat coordinates all activities of human trafficking in Ghana by adopting legal, legislative and operational measures to reinforce the principle of gender equality and human rights issues.

Touching on prevention, she said the Ministry had embarked on many community advocacy and engagements to educate the public on the dangers associated with human trafficking.

Mrs Morrison said the Ministry, in collaboration with the law enforcement agencies, social workers and non-governmental organisations in Ghana in 2019 rescued 778 victims, gave them comprehensive trauma informed care and reintegrated them.

The British High Commission on February 1, 2019, supported the operationalisation of the adult shelter of which 63 adult victims of trafficking were cared for.

Mrs Morrison said about 78 High Court judges were trained in Accra and Kumasi in 2018 and 2019 with support from UNICEF and the Judicial Training Institute adding that more court clerks and judges were receiving training on case management to speed trials.

“In all 147 cases were reported and investigated, out of that 23 cases were prosecuted involving 37 defendants and we have gained 15 convictions for the country,” she said.

Mrs Diana Accancia, the Head of EU Delegation to Ghana, said the rise in irregular migration through the Mediterranean route and the number of people affected by human trafficking had been a concern across the world.

She said the EU had chosen to support the initiative to strengthen both national and regional mechanisms in the fight against human trafficking.

Mrs Acconcia said over the last two and half years, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and EU had supported the return of 1,300 Ghanaians from Libya and Niger.

According to Frontex, the European border and coast guard agency, the number of migrants from West Africa trying to go to Europe multiplied by 10 between 2010 and 2016.

Unfortunately, according to a recent IOM study, about 80 per cent of the migrants using the Central Mediterranean route, mainly through Libya, had been victims of a form of human trafficking.

Source: GNA

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