Preventing child trafficking in Ghana

CHILD trafficking has been identified as a major global problem, with Ghana having a fair share of the predicament.

The practice, which ends up with most boys used for hard labour and girls in commercial sex work, has been said to be taking place along the Volta Lake and border towns of the country.

It is a dreadful infringement of the right to parental care and denies them an opportunity to get education and grow into responsible adults.

The practice, which has assumed alarming proportions, has attracted both internal and international attention.

The topic was the centre of discussion when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, yesterday interacted with Gary Haugan, the Chief Executive of the International Justice Mission (IJM), at the Jubilee House, in Accra.

Responding to the call by IJM to direct the police to beef up child trafficking patrols on the Volta Lake to apprehend child traffickers, the president said government was committed to ensuring security on the lake.

According to IJM, intelligence available to them indicated that child trafficking was still prevalent on the Volta Lake, and stressed the need to increase security on the lake.

In fact, child trafficking on the Volta Lake has been ongoing and that the security agencies and civil society organisations (CSOs) have been trying to battle over the years.

The menace poses a major national challenge that calls for stringent measures and strict enforcement of child protection laws of the country.

Besides, there is the need for public education, particularly among stakeholders along the Volta Lake and areas noted for trafficking.

A United States Department of State publication dated June 28, 2018 that ranked Ghana as Tier 2 in recognition of its anti-trafficking work, stated that Ghana did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

It said, however, that Ghana was making significant efforts compared to previous reporting periods.

“The government demonstrated increasing efforts by validating and implementing the national anti-trafficking action plan and expended funds allocated for the plan”, it said.

The Ghanaian Times is hopeful that the government and all stakeholders would not relent in their efforts to combat child trafficking in the country.

We hope that increased resources would be provided the police, Immigration Service and Social Welfare Department to enable them respond in the timely way to fight the menace.

While we welcome the President’s assurance, we urge all stakeholders to support the government’s efforts to protect children and their rights.

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