THE Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service on Thursday, announced the rescue to a total of 285 victims of human trafficking in and out of the country.
Of the number, almost half are children between five and 16 years old.
According to the Police, the victims were rescued at various parts of the country as well as foreign lands last year.
So far, 18 people have been convicted for human trafficking and 13 incarcerated for child labour offences.
The Director of the unit, Superintendent Mike Baah, who disclosed these at the media launch of the 2019 World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL), in Accra said last year’s figures which was 339 victims, including more than 100 children.
The Ghanaian Times is glad that the figures are going down but unhappy that human trafficking still persists in spite of efforts being made by the government and law enforcement agencies to stop it.
The practice is ongoing despite Ghana’s prohibition of all forms of trafficking through 2005 Human Trafficking Act, which prescribes a minimum penalty of five years imprisonment for offenders.
The penalty the lawmakers thought at the time was stringent enough to deter the traffickers but it appears it is not sufficient.
We urge Parliament and the government to take a second look at the law and prescribe a much stringent punishment for those who engage in those dastardly crimes.
We acknowledged that the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as state institutions have demonstrated overall improvement in victim protection by providing shelters, especially for children.
In Osu and Madina in the Greater Accra Region, Atebubu Amansen in the Bono Region shelters are provided for victims which is also been supported by NGOs.
Although these efforts are geared towards providing support to the victim, we suggest that much more effort is put into public education to get citizens much more involved in the fight against human trafficking.
We suggest a vigorous anti-trafficking education campaign in all communities especially, poor areas.
We also urge community members to be more vigilant and to provide information to the Police and other law enforcement agencies to enable them to arrest perpetrators.
More importantly, parents who also willingly give out their children must also be made to face the law. They are part of the problem because on many occasions their consent is sought before the children are taken away.
Let us all recommit ourselves to the anti-trafficking war so that together we can fight the heinous crime being perpetrated by few unscrupulous individuals.