THE Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has asked Ghanaians to be wary of recruitment agencies and individuals who promise them jobs overseas,to prevent falling victims to human trafficking.
The Deputy Sector Minister, Mrs Freda Prempeh said job offers continued to be the bait used by traffickers who, aside from selling victims out for sex trade in gulf countries and other dehumanising jobs, were selling their body organs.
“Some (victims) have been coerced into accepting sex trade as means of survival or paying for debts owed to travel agents and their new masters. The more disturbing phenenom now is the issue of organ harvesting,” she said.
Mrs Prempeh gave the caution at a sensitisation durbar at Agbogbloshie in Accra yesterday to commemorate the United Nations (UN) World Day against Trafficking in Person.
The day is marked annually to create awareness about the dangers in human trafficking and protection of victims. This year’s event was under the theme; “Together we end human trafficking now.”
It was organised by the ministry in collaboration with Don Bosco Child Protection Centre, Assemblies of God Care Centre and attended by female head porters (kayayie) at Agbogbloshie.
According to statistics available at the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, a total of 285 victims of human trafficking were rescued last year with almost half being children between five and 16 years old.
Mrs Prempeh, said aside the ignorance of victims and their associates, some parents willingly gave their children out of greed, adding that they could be jailed not less than five years and not more than 25 years when found guilty.
She said last year, the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana Police Service, convicted 20 offenders of human trafficking and child labour to various sentences.
Instead of engaging in irregular migration in search of greener pastures and ending up being trafficked, she advised the youth to learn a trade or take advantage of various interventions introduced by the government to survive.
Mrs Prempeh said the government would create awareness and enforce the laws, but families and individuals would also have to play their roles by ensuring that they were not enticed by juicy offers.
The Director of Don Bosco Child Protection Centre, Rev. Anthony Acquaye said the reports on human trafficking in the country were indication that special attention and strategy was needed to combat it.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Executive Director of AG Care Lifeline Center, Joseph Kwame Wumbee said human trafficking was gradually affecting the human capital of the African continent.
He called for the concerted efforts of international
BY JONATHAN DONKOR AND DEBORAH ASUMA