An international training workshop aimed at building the capacity of maritime border officials in some West African countries is underway at Prampram in the Greater Accra region.
The five-day event, dubbed: “Addressing Counter-Smuggling and protection gaps in Ghana, Benin and Togo- Strengthening national and regional mechanisms”, is being organised by the International Organization for Immigration (IOM), an agency that advocates the prevention of smuggling and illegal immigration.
It brought together officials of security agencies such as port, immigration, maritime, navy and police services from Ghana, Togo and Benin.
The workshop would provide opportunities for officials from the three countries to share knowledge and experiences and find ways of addressing challenges in their areas of operation.
Some of the topics being discussed include, “Port Security”, “Integrated Border Management”, “Corruption in human trafficking”, “Smuggling and Trafficking”, among others.
In his submission, Mr. Marcellino Nariain Ramkishun, a Senior Migration Management Specialist and IOM trainer, noted that maritime policing was a new concept to Africa and therefore needed lot of co-operation among the security agencies across the continent.
He added that there was the need to research into smuggling and other organised crime activities, adding that every country had its own unique problems on the continent.
On trafficking, the immigration expert revealed that 32 percent of child victims of trafficking came from Africa, saying “it is a matter of concern that should be managed”.
Mr. Ramkishun mentioned some of the causes of organised crime in Africa to include poor socio-economic conditions and political instability.
According to him, smugglers and other maritime offenders present to unsuspecting victims, lucrative means that attract them noting that “Smugglers and organised crime syndicates now offer good lifestyles to unsuspecting victims”.
Mr. Daniel Tagoe, the assistant project co-ordinator for the training hoped that at the end of the project, the trainees would share their experiences effectively in their various countries to help protect their sea borders.
He told Ghanaian Times that, the project was specifically focused on the marine sector because they had already trained officials on the land borders.
By Luther King Owusu-Amoah