Forty personnel ofthe Ghana Marine Police on Monday began a three- week course on maritime law and anti-human trafficking at the Marine Training School, at Ainyinase, in the Ellembele District of Western Region.
Supported by the International Justice Mission (IJM), the course is aimed at sharpening the skills and knowledge of participants in combating child labour and child trafficking on the Volta Lake.
At the end, the best 10 would undergo further training.
Topics dealt with included intelligence gathering, maritime law operations, prosecuting marine offences, role of the Ghana Navy, weapon training, criminal code, Fisheries Act/Regulations, anti-human trafficking and child labour.
Opening it, the Deputy Western Regional Police Commander (DCOP) Victor Adusah-Poku, noted that, recent investigations revealed there were not enough enforcement or security presence on the Volta Lake.
He said, though there were police stations near the lake, lack of capacity to access the water does not help in the enforcement of maritime laws and protect residents on banks and islands.
This, DCOP Adusah-Poku, explained has led to the rampant human trafficking along the Volta lake and that, many young children, separated from their families, were trafficked from regions across Ghana into forced labour along banks and islands.
Fishing, he explained, was a dangerous work and unsuitable for children due to the hazards associated with it, noting that, many children could not swim and were at “constant risk of drowning as they are pressurised to dive deep into the lake to untangle nets.”
He said: “In addition, children face physical and emotional abuse, deprivation of education and malnourishment. Also, Indian hemp cultivation and transportation had been ongoing in some parts on the banks ofthe Volta Lake.”
He added that: “These calls for effective and efficient maritime law enforcement — the Ghana Marine Police is to protect life and property, prevent, detect, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of maritime crime on the banks of the Volta Lake to reduce the security and economic threats posed to the nation.”
DCOP Adusah-Poku said, the Ghana Marine Police which provided ports, waterways and coastal security, agreed with IJM to train and sharpen the skills of police officers, show their presence and also effectively tackle crimes on the Volta Lake.
The Country Director of IJM, Will Lathrop, reported that anti-human trafficking was a global security issue and was glad that the project would help the marine police to provide access to the poor and vulnerable along the Volta Lake.
The Director Marine Police, Chief Superintendent Joseph Antwi Ababio, said the course would equip the participants with knowledge to combat security breaches on the Volta Lake.
Chief of Ainyinase, Nana Etwe Kpanyinli V, believed that the personnel selected for the course were committed to the task and would perform better to reduce human trafficking on the Volta Lake.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, AINYINASE