Today, the Ghanaian Times is revisiting the issue of foreign labour migration, particularly to the Gulf countries.

We are revisiting the issue because the harrowing experiences domestic migrant workers go through in the Gulf countries still persist.

Although government has suspended recruitment of domestic migrant workers to the Gulf countries, some unscrupulous people continue to illegally recruit and transport domestic workers to the Gulf countries on the blind side of the law enforcement agencies.

That is perhaps the reason why the Ministries of Employment and labour Relations and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration are contemplating engaging Gulf countries to stop the issuance of visas directly to domestic migrant workers.

The two ministries want only the 58 licensed agencies, which are in good standing with the Labour Department, to represent and process documents of Ghanaian domestic workers, who qualify to travel to work in the Gulf States.

According to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the move by the two ministries, is part of efforts to effectively manage foreign labour migration.

Indeed, exploitation of Ghanaian migrant domestic workers has been dealt with in this column many times, but it appears that the practice would not stop.

The Ghanaian Times has also carried many stories on the maltreatment of Ghanaian domestic workers and our editorials have called on the government to ban domestic workers from going to the Gulf countries.

We are happy that in addition to the suspension of recruitment of domestic workers to the Gulf countries, the government is going to dialogue with the Gulf state embassies, to deal with only agencies in good standing.

While we commend the government for the latest move, we recommend that the authorities work with security agencies to truck down the illegal agencies that lure innocent domestic workers into those counties and through harsh conditions and maltreatment.

We can recount hundreds of harrowing stories told by some of the girls and women who return from such trips, for which the country must take steps to prevent others from going through.

We are extremely glad that the government is taking steps to sanitise the recruitment process and making domestic work in the Gulf States more formal, secured and respectable.

But, while the government plays it part, there are still illegal recruitment agencies operating underground, and are the main culprits who lure our girls and women into such harsh working conditions.

It is time for very tough measures to deal with the menace to serve as deterrent.

Without severe punishment the illegal recruitment agencies would continue to lure vulnerable and naïve people to those countries to undergo maltreatment.

There must be very tough sanctions to deter the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against Ghanaian girls and women.


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