The Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Letsa says human trafficking remained a threat to the human resources of the country that deprived the youth and children of their right to education.
According to him, Volta Lake had been identified as one of the places where human trafficking remained prevalent.
Dr Letsa expressed the concern in a speech read on his behalf in Ho during a National Justice Conference organised by the International Justice Mission(IJM), a global organisation that protects the poor from violence.
He said they received reports constantly that fishermen persistently recruit school going children as young as six years and engage them on the lake to fish for them.
Sometimes these recruitments, he said were done with the tacit support of parents of children, whiles others are recruited by deceit of the traffickers who promise to take good care of them, but end up been trafficked.
The Minister explained that in order to fight this social menace, Parliament had enacted the Human Trafficking Act 2005(Act 694) to criminalise this act of enslaving others with the purpose of exploiting them economically or sexually.
However, the enforcement of the law remained a challenge due to the lack of logistics to facilitate the activities of the police, who were supposed to visit islands and other immutable communities to investigate and affect arrest of suspects.
Dr Letsa noted that the theme:” Ending Human Trafficking, the role of the community”was apt since this crime was thriving in our communities due to poverty and ignorance.
“The fight against human trafficking should be a collaborative activity among the law enforcement agents such as the Ghana Police Service, Office of the Attorney General, Department of Social Welfare and others.
All stakeholders in our communities such as chiefs, pastors, assembly members must be mobilised and made to assist the law enforcement agents to end human trafficking in our communities,” he stated.
Dr Letsa expressed gratitude to IJM for the support it had given to the government in its effort to end human trafficking in Ghana.
In his welcome address, Mr Foster Worlanyo, National Director of Advocacy and Partnership of IJM stated that the core mission of IJM, Ghana Office, aimed at working with law enforcement and other government agencies to rescue children who have fallen victims to child trafficking on the Volta Lake, rehabilitate such victims and facilitate the prosecution of the perpetrators.
He said his outfit had partnered with relevant government agencies since 2015 to ensure the rescue of 366 victims and the arrest of 228 perpetrators.
Out of this number 47 have been successfully prosecuted and 163 of these victims have been successfully rehabilitated.
FROM KAFUI GATI, HO