A total of 285 victims of human trafficking were rescued in 2018 by officials of the Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), as against 339 in 2017.
The 231 children and 54 adults, who were engaged in various forms of servitude, including prostitution and fishing on the Volta Lake, were rescued at Tapa Abotoase, Makango and Kete Krachi in the Oti Region, Kpando in Volta Region, Sege in the Greater Accra, and Elmina in the Central Region.
With the assistance of the international partners, the AHTU rescued the rest of the Ghanaians from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Kurdistan and Lebanon, where most of them were domestic servants and others into sexual exploitation.
The Director of the AHTU, Superintendent of Police (Supt) Mike Baah, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Thursday, stated that 79 suspects involved in the human trafficking racket were arrested.
He disclosed that the unit secured 18 convictions, last year, adding that some of the suspects were standing trial while others were still under investigations.
Supt Baah said that the unit was intensifying its public educational campaign, while equipping personnel with the necessary logistics, and training to enable them to discharge their duties effectively.
He said the unit would engage opinion leaders, including traditional rulers on the threat and effect of human trafficking in the country.
“We would also intensify our collaboration with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Department of Children Welfare to educate the public,” Supt Baah stressed.
According to him, the unit was formulating proposal for the establishment of anti-human trafficking clubs in school to sensitise children on how to identify human trafficking perpetrators.
Supt Baah disclosed the unit has also adopted a child-friendly policy in the discharge of its duties, to help members to interact with victims of human trafficking, who were under age.
Supt Baah said human trafficking affects the country’ image internationally, violates the human rights of victims, creates emotional instability for survivors, affect their health and even results in the death of some victims, among others.
He said Section (3) of the Human Trafficking Act 694 of 2005, indicates that, “A person who provides another person for purpose of trafficking commits an offence even where the person is a parent’’.
The AHTU Director reminded the public that any person caught engaging in human trafficking commits an offence and liable to summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years.
Supt Baah advised parents to desist from giving out their children to strangers, who might promise them of sending the children to school or seeking for jobs for them.
He urged the media to support the unit in its education drive to help in the combat of human trafficking in the country.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI