Human trafficking needs attention and action

Perhaps, one major crime that is going on not only in Ghana, but across the world that the law enforcement agencies are unable to put a hand on is human trafficking.

The unlawful practice, done nicodemously and difficult to track, still persist in spite of the fact that, Ghana has enacted a law that prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2005 Human Trafficking Act (HTA), which prescribes a minimum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for all forms of trafficking.

For some reasons, the law appears not to deter perpetrators who continue to engage in the crime, thus making it difficult for the country to attain the desired results.

According to the US Department of State 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report on Ghana,   “The Government of Ghana does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Ghana remained on Tier 2”

 The report identified key areas including increasing resources dedicated to implementation of anti-trafficking action plan; sentencing more convicted traffickers to significant prison terms; improving interagency and civil society cooperation to identify and remove children from trafficking situations; increasing anti-trafficking public awareness activities; and adopting systematic trafficking data collection procedures that needed attention.

It said several key factors including inadequacy of operational resources, limited technical capacity for effective investigation, and the absence of government-supported shelter space for adult and child trafficking victims, and the shortage of state attorneys hindered prosecutions.

This clearly shows that the fight against human trafficking is nowhere to be won with the fundamental problems mentioned above.

The Ghanaian Times is, therefore, not surprised that the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Officials at the Ghana-Togo Border at Aflao intercepted over 50 Ghanaian girls travelling to Nigeria for flights to Arab States for greener pastures in the last quarter of 2019.

Mr Frederick Duodu, Aflao GIS Sector Commander, in an interview with the GNA, said the interception of the ladies, aged between 17 and 40, were clear cases of human trafficking and said it followed intensive surveillance.

He said the Ghana Government banned such travels as a result of the harrowing and sometimes deadly experiences the travellers, mainly ladies go through in those countries.

According to him, there was therefore tight scrutiny against such travels at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, hence the diversion of the route by the criminals behind the trafficking.

“Formerly they were using the Kotoka Airport, but because of the tight security, the perpetrators have resorted to the Aflao-Lome-Coutonu-Lagos land corridor to Nigeria for flights to the Arab regions,” he said.

Although we commend the efforts of the Immigration Service, we are of the view that law enforcement agencies need more resources for surveillance and investigative operations to enable investigators, in cooperation with social welfare workers, respond effectively to the human trafficking menace.

We also call for the vigorous implementation and enforcement of the anti-human trafficking law as well as provision of many more shelters for victims of human trafficking.

This way, we would be on our way to winning the fight against human trafficking.

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