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Interferences hampering fight against human trafficking – Forum

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Interferences by politicians, public office holders, and traditional rulers continue to impede the prosecution of suspected human traffickers in the country.

Participants at the second national symposium on human trafficking, jointly organised by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) and Free the Slaves, observed in Accra.

The one-day event, under the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Agreement funded by the Government of the United States of America, was to share success stories, challenges, and suggest solutions.

Dr Afisah Zakaria, the Chief Director of MOGCSP in an address delivered on her behalf said the Government had harmonised its actions into the National Plan for human trafficking and its related policies, practices, and actions.

She said the move had enhanced coordination and information sharing among key players in the field through experience sharing, grassroots engagement, and punitive efforts.

Mr Crowell Awadey, the Executive Director of the International Needs, called for the need for the Government to resource state institutions to deliver on their mandate, especially at the district and community levels.

He said initiatives towards saving victims of trafficking needed to be scaled-up in communities where cases were endemic.

Mr Awadey, sharing some success stories, said 332 children had been freed from trafficking and special coaching sessions had also been organised to boost the confidence of survivors.

He said some 213 children were also prevented from being trafficked and 50 learning groups formed in communities in regions, including Central, Oti, Volta, and Greater Accra.

Mr Awadey said 120,008 persons had been educated on the risks of child trafficking and 19 slaveholders arrested and five prosecutions done successfully.

Mr Misheal Dzila, a member of the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC) at Dzilakope in the Krachi West District of the Oti Region said as part of the project, a Village Savings and Loans Association was formed, where members could take loans to support their businesses or start new ones.

“We are able to hire adults to help us and can now provide adequate needs for our families. Children (students) in our communities now know their rights and responsibilities through the formation of the Child Rights Clubs in our schools. This has reduced child delinquency, teenage pregnancies, and early marriages,” he said.

He noted that the project had prevented and protected children from all forms of abuse, responded, and took immediate action when child abuse occurred in the community.

Mr Dzila said it also facilitated the reporting of child abuse to the appropriate authorities, kept and updated data on children in the communities and facilitated guidance and counselling to children,

Mr Dickson Nartey, a survivor of trafficking said poverty often forced vulnerable families to sell their children into slavery and called on authorities to intensify awareness, enforce laws to punish offenders, and to support vulnerable Ghanaian families to build community resistance to human trafficking as well as child trafficking.

The compact was signed on June 23, 2015, to reduce child trafficking, prosecute, convict child traffickers and improve the quality of protection services for child victims.

MOGCSP’s role is to provide leadership and coordinate the CPC partnership technical working committee.

Source: GNA

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