Ghana each year joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Day against Human Trafficking also known as the Blue Day.
As part of the commemoration of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (Blue Day), the Human Trafficking Secretariat under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection organised a durbar for about fifty (50) Traditional Authorities from sending and receiving communities to explain issues of human trafficking and its consequences on people at Koforidua in the Eastern Region on Thursday 30th July, 2020.
The World Day against Trafficking in Persons also known as Blue Day denotes compassion to victims and is celebrated globally on 30th July each year. This year’s celebration is about the see something; say something, act on it amidst covid-19 campaign against human trafficking. The theme is, “Stakeholders act now to end human trafficking amidst COVID-19 in Ghana”.
The purpose of the occasion is on tackling the root causes of Human Trafficking in Ghana amidst this COVID-19 Pandemic. The occasion was to inform community leaders, opinion leaders, potential migrants at risk and vulnerable groups about the dangers of Human Trafficking, irregular migration, various forms of child trafficking and their roles to effectively prevent issues of trafficking from the grassroots.
Individuals were also sensitized on the legal consequences of human/child trafficking including the arrest, prosecution and convictions of perpetrators of human trafficking.
The Chief Director for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr. Afisah Zakariah on behalf of the sector Minister said the Ministry is implementing grassroot community based approach through intensified anti human trafficking awareness raising campaigns in various communities which starts with the Traditional Authorities.
She said trafficking starts from communities where some parents, caregivers, drivers and canoe owners transport these victims out of communities knowingly or unknowingly.
Dr. Afisah Zakariah said it is as a result of this that they have gathered together with the traditional leaders even amidst the COVID-19 because human trafficking is equally a plaque that need to be stopped like COVID 19 and that majority of the traditional areas has been classified as either a sending or a receiving community of trafficked persons.
She therefore called on all to unite their efforts with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to win the war against the menace and to free victims by stopping this crime that has become ever more aggressive and threatens not just individuals but the foundational values of society.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Eric Kwakye Darfour at the commemoration pledged his personal commitment and that of the Regional Co-ordinating Council to intensify their efforts to monitor and supervise activities of all MMDAs in the country especially in respect to social protection.
He said human trafficking activities are still ongoing in the country and available statistics show that women and children form majority of victims in sexual exploitation and forced labour as the common forms of trafficking.
According to him, Ghana as a member of the United Nations has stepped up efforts against this crime with the promulgation of the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 Act 694 and the establishment of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service amongst others.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Hon Eric Kwakye Darfour said violations of human rights are both a cause and a consequence of trafficking of persons and it is therefore essential to place the protection of all human rights at the center of any action taken to end trafficking.
He therefore called on all to come together as stakeholders to sensitize their people in addressing the root causes of this canker and deepen their preventive efforts in combatting human trafficking and child exploitation.
Adding that the Eastern Region has also had its share of human trafficking in the country citing recent reports of such cases along the Volta Lake in the Afram Plains area and this calls for immediate collective responsibility to eliminate or reduce human trafficking to its barest minimum.
The Head of the Human Trafficking Secretariat, Madam Abena Annobea Asare said as Government there is the need to meet with stakeholders to step up efforts in the fight against human trafficking in the midst of COVID-19 Pandemic which has the potential to further increase the woes of victims such as child exploitation, sexual exploitation and smuggling of migrants through unapproved routes of entries.
She said this year’s commemoration has been marked with a number of activities and one of such activity is the durbar for the Traditional Authorities which is targeted at addressing the root causes of child exploitation and to explain issues of human trafficking amidst its consequences to them.
Madam Annobea Asare said trafficked victims are recruited in communities and are also used in their communities and so they need to involve chiefs to be proactive in the fight against human trafficking.
In conclusion, the Head of the Human Trafficking Secretariat said it is the hope of Government that the traditional authorities stand for justice for the trafficked victims and bring offenders to face the law without shielding them and that it is only by setting good examples that they can protect their children from human trafficking.
The Head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service together with the Head of the Anti-Human Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service, Chief Supt.
Mike Baah and Deputy Supt. Alberta Ampofo sensitized the Traditional Leaders on the laws and sanctions for Human Trafficking offenders and also presented on the dangers associated with irregular migration as well as trafficking of young adults in the various communities of Ghana to the Gulf States.
HRH Nana Ayimedu Brempong III, Krontihene of Adjena and Nana Awo Yaa Otwiwaa 1 Agyemanti Hemaa also explained the roles Traditional leaders play in the fight against human trafficking.
Whilst the Chief of Soame Abotanso and Anantahene of Akyem Bosome Traditional Area., Nana Osaberimah Obeng Asiedu 1 also gave a short statement on the root causes of human trafficking.
The Chiefs had plenary discussions on the root causes of Human Trafficking and the way forward by pledging their support to the fight against Human Trafficking in Ghana.