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‘Dealing with child labour calls for innovative strategies’

BY: Edward Acquah & Joseph Kpormegbey
 Mr Bright Kweku Brobby (right) interacting with some participants in the media launch
Mr Bright Kweku Brobby (right) interacting with some participants in the media launch

Trafficking children to do forced labour contravenes the provisions of the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol) of which Ghana has signed onto.

.The International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to draw attention to the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.

The event is commemorated on June 12 every year, and this year’s event, on the theme: “Consolidating efforts, children must work on dreams not in fields,” will be held at Effiduase, near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region on June 12, 2019 under the auspices of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.

Plight of child labourers

Speaking at the media launch of the 2019 World Day Against Child Labour in Accra, the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Bright Kweku Brobby, said the occasion would assemble government agencies, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to highlight the plight of child labourers and what could be done to solve the problem.

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The day, he added, would also be used to discuss the country’s efforts towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7 set by the international community calling for an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.

According to the Director of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Mike Baah, 18 people were convicted of human trafficking and child labour offences in 2018.

He said 13 of the convicts were found guilty of child labour while the remaining five were involved in human trafficking.

Rescued victims

He also revealed that the police, as part of their operations, rescued 285 victims of human trafficking the same year, with more than a 100 of them being children between the ages of five and 16.

Contributing to a discussion on child labour at the media launch, he indicated that, “In 2017, we were able to rescue 339 victims of human trafficking alone, out of which we managed to convict four people.

The conviction of 18 people in 2018 shows the extent to which the Police and their agencies are working to combat these heinous crimes.”

Later in an interview, Supt Baah mentioned interferences from opinion leaders, families of the victims and other sources as a major hindrance to efforts being made by the police to efficiently deal with the menace.

For his part, a representative of the ILO, Mr Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, stated that although the 2025 target set by the UN appeared ambitious, the country could achieve it beforehand if it ensured an effective implementation of existing laws against child labour.