The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations has warned illegal recruitment agencies to desist from the practice or risk prosecution when caught.
Mr Eugene Narh Korletey, Chief Labour Officer of the ministry, who gave the warning, said the ministry had put in place stringent measures and mechanisms to rid the country of such charlatans.
He was speaking at the maiden gender conference, organised by the Ghanaian-Germany Centre (GGC) for jobs, migration and reintegration in collaboration with the ministry.
It was held on the theme: ‘Addressing the Vulnerabilities of the 21st century Woman in the Context of Irregular Migration and Unemployment: The Role of Stakeholders’.
The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss and exchange ideas on safe labour migration pathways and its challenges, including sexual exploitation, trafficking and considerations of livelihood alternatives for irregular labour migrants.
According to Mr Korletey, the government owed it a duty to protect Ghanaian women from being victims of charlatans operating in the recruitment industry and exposing unsuspecting Ghanaian young ladies to all kinds of inhumane treatment and abuse.
“Such individuals are tarnishing our image as a country, that is why we are taking pragmatic steps to ensure that Labour Migration as a livelihood strategy is safe, orderly and not underrated,” he added.
Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, he said, had become destination countries for the teeming unemployed Ghanaian youth, providing several job opportunities in areas such as construction, domestic services, education and healthcare.
He explained that the main benefits of labour migration included improved living standards, a reduction in the unemployment rate at sending countries and supply of needed skills at the receiving countries.
Mr Korletey indicated that human smuggling and human trafficking were some of the illegal activities that had emerged across the world, adding that many young women from sub-Saharan Africa had become victims of human trafficking in their quest to escape poverty and improve upon their economic well-being.
He further explained that the criminal network perpetuating human trafficking consisted of illegal agents that lured unsuspecting and desperate young ladies with the promise of recruiting them as domestic workers.
“We will continue to increase awareness on labour and migration issues, especially in the rural areas, and I believe it will go a long way in protecting the citizenry,” he added.
The Regional Coordinator of GGC, Mr Benjamin Woesten, reiterated the centre’s commitment to joining hands with relevant partners to champion gender related issues and how it impacts on migration.
He expressed worry about the challenges in achieving gender equality, social protection and women’s empowerment.
According to him, the conference would go a long way to educate participants on how to find lasting solutions to the various challenges confronting women, men and other vulnerable groups.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU