14 convicted for human trafficking last year

 A Total of 14 human traffickers, including two sex and 12 labour traffick­ers, were convicted under the anti- trafficking law in 2021.

Out of the number, 11 traf­fickers (79 per cent) received a sentence of at least one year of imprisonment, the country’s 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report by the US Department of State has said.

According to the report, courts prosecuted and convicted three defendants for exploitative child labour under the Children’s Act of 1998.

It said two of the three de­fendants were fined and did not receive prison sentences, and one defendant received the option for a fine in lieu of six months’ imprisonment, which did not serve to deter the crime or adequately reflect the nature of the crime.

This is compared with prosecu­tions of 22 alleged labour traffick­ers and convictions of 13 labour traffickers in 2020.

The 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report said that the government initiated investigations of 108 trafficking cases in 2021, including 60 labor trafficking cases, 42 sex trafficking cases.

It said six cases where the form of exploitation was unknown, and continued the investigation of one sex trafficking case from the pre­vious reporting period, compared with investigating 87 cases in 2020.

In some cases, the report said the government prosecuted alleged traffickers under the Children’s Act when there was insufficient evi­dence to attain a conviction under the anti-trafficking law.

It stated that the government did not report any investigations, pros­ecutions, or convictions of govern­ment employees allegedly complicit in human trafficking crimes.

However, official corruption and complicity in trafficking crimes remained concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action during the year.

“Observers alleged that some traffickers operated with the support or acquiescence of law enforcement or justice officials and that some officials interfered in law enforcement proceedings, refused to take action without a bribe, or attempted to intimidate civil society’s reporting of trafficking cases. Some airport staff allegedly facilitated the transit of victims en route to exploitation,” the report said.

Also, the report indicated that the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) had specialised anti-traffick­ing units.

The government and non-gov­ernmental organisations (NGOs) reported that the government did not provide sufficient funding and resources, facilities, or land and marine vehicles for anti-trafficking law enforcement operations.

Meanwhile, the report said the government in collaboration with NGOs and foreign donors provided extensive training to law enforcement, judicial officials, and frontline workers on trafficking definitions and legal concepts, investigative techniques, and victim protection.


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