Thirty-four children were last Monday rescued from some streets in Accra in a joint operation by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and the Accra Regional Police Command.
The children, 23 males and 11 females, were taken off the streets in the Airport and Accra Mall areas, where most of them slept in the open.
The team of personnel from the Regional Operations Unit was led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Samuel Azugu, while the Regional Director of the DSW of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Miss Phyllis Emefa Senyo, led the team from the ministry.
The unarmed police personnel led the way in closing in on some of the children without inflicting any physical pain on them. Those who got wind of the operation, however, bolted.
At the end of the operation, which took place in the late hours of the evening, the rescued children were taken to the DSW facility at Madina in the La Nkwantanang Municipal Assembly where they would be housed and cared for.
The children, who were initially apprehensive of the operation, began singing and interacting with each other and members of the operation team on arrival at the social welfare facility.
ACP Azugu described the exercise as largely successful and said the police would continue to support any worthy cause to clear the streets of children.
Strategy to rescue street children
Ms Senyo explained that the exercise formed part of a strategy by her ministry to take children off the street in line with international requirements.
She said the children would subsequently be screened and classified according to their specific needs so that the government could intervene appropriately in providing those needs.
“We will make efforts to contact the parents of all the children and interact with them to know the reason why they allowed their kids to be on the streets. Some of them will be made to sign a bond where necessary,” the director stated.
The Children’s Act of 1998 (Act 560) defines a child as anyone under the age of 18 years. Section 18 of the Act stipulates when a child needs care and protection and whose responsibility it is to provide same.
Child protection issues are seen in the area of child survival, development, protection and participation.
The growing trend in the number of children found on the streets of Accra and some commercial cities across the country contravenes articles 17,18 and 19 of Act 560.