Govt steps up efforts to combat human trafficking

Ghana has ramped up its efforts to become compliant with the minimum standards to combat trafficking in persons under the trafficking victim’s Protection Act of the United States, Godfred Yeboah Dame, Deputy Attorney General has said.

He said under the Act, Ghana was currently a tier two country which means that the country had not done enough to meet the Act’s minimum standards in combating human trafficking, although the country had made modest gains.

Mr Dame said these at the second annual Attorney Generals Alliance (AGA) African conference underway in Accra yesterday. 

The AGA-Africa is a mission driven non-profit organisation dedicated to strengthening the rule of law in combating transnational crimes in Africa by fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing between law enforcement agencies.

The five-day conference aimed at establishing and building cooperative relationships with key players throughout Africa brought together law enforcement officers from the continent.

Sharing some of the measures Ghana had instituted to combat human trafficking Mr Dame said between 2015 and 2018, the Ghana Police Service Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) conducted over 550 investigations into suspected human trafficking.

He said the government also continued to maintain a ban on recruitment for jobs in the Middle East following reports of sex and labour trafficking and serious physical abuse of Ghanaian women recruited for domestic work and hospitality jobs.

Mr Dame said the modest achievements could not by any stretch of imagination, suggest a readiness on the part of Ghana to deal with the multiplicity of transnational crimes in the nature of human trafficking, people smuggling, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, trafficking of  illegal animals and plant products, sex slavery, terrorism offences, torture and corruption.

He said today’s benefit of digital technology were not lost on criminal organisations who were exploiting digital technology to perpetrate transnational diverse crimes by moving money, goods, services and people instantaneously for purposes of community violence and even political agenda.

“I know many conceive human trafficking, modern day slavery, drug and arms trafficking and cyber crime as the biggest problems in terms of transactional crimes in Africa. However, for me, the financial crimes such as corruption and its related offences constitute the most serious and urgent transnational offences Africa is faced with,” he said.

Justice Nene Amegatcher, Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana speaking on behalf of the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah said, the country’s legislative arsenal was ever adapting to deal with the menace, the latest effort being the anti-money laundering bill which sought to approve on the current anti money laundering 2008 (Act 749).

He said, the legislation in the form of the electronic transaction act (Act 772) has also eased prosecution of transnational crime cases as evidence admissible might be in the form of videos, flash drives, CCTV footage, and emails.

Mr Amegatcher said the adherence to a uniform regime in legislation and ensuring that domestic legislation was responsive to the ever challenging face of transnational crime, ratification of international convention, armed or fighting the menace of transnational crimes.

BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI AND VIVIAN ARTHUR

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