The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) has declared its intention to arrest and prosecute people involved in the trafficking of foreign children to beg on the streets.
Preliminary investigations by the ministry have shown that foreign children begging on the streets of Accra were victims of organised trafficking syndicates, purposely brought to the capital to beg on the streets and hand over the monies to their traffickers.
The Deputy Minister for the sector, Lariba Abdul, revealed this in an interview on the sidelines of the inauguration of the newly refurbished Human Trafficking Secretariat (HTS) and Trauma Informed Care Centre in Accra last Saturday.
“We are still doing investigations and we know what is going on. Very soon, we would swoop down on them and prosecute the perpetrators of this act,” she said.
Hajia Abudu said cases of human trafficking were constantly on the rise, with the country being a receiving, transit and destination country for victims of human trafficking.
Significant strides had, however, been made towards dealing with the menace in the country, she added, with the enactment of the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 Act 694, towards the prevention, reduction and punishment of human trafficking offences and their related matters.
She also mentioned that in the last year, the ministry, with support from partners and NGOs, rescued a total of 842 trafficked victims, out of which 812 had been reintegrated with their families.
The adult and children shelters, she said, had catered for 178 adult female victims and 98 children respectively, since inception.
“We are also refurbishing a victim transit shelter at Aflao to support rescues and interceptions at the border,” Hajia Abudu said, adding that the centre could be contacted at all times on toll-free numbers 0800 800 800 and 0800 900 900.
The Chief Director for the MOGCSP, Dr Afisah Zakariah, said the refurbishing of the HTS was part of a joint project by the ministry, European Union (EU), the French Embassy and Expertise France to support the fight against human trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea
Covering Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, she said the project sought to support institutional strengthening, capacity building, effective law enforcement, adequate protection of victims and the strengthening of regional cooperation in these countries.
The centre also sought to support in the fight against human trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea countries and provide adequate care for victims in the sub-region.
“To us, comprehensive care for victims is one major priority and this is going to complement the psycho social needs of victims by offering counselling services, walk-in services and improving our monitoring services on the vocational skills activities done for victims,” Dr Zakariah said.
At the event, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the ministry and the project implementers, Expertise France, regarding the support for the Human Trafficking Fund.
The EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, said human trafficking was a global phenomenon, which involved international criminal organisations, and generated about 30 billion euros each year.
He added that reports had shown that every year, over 2.5 million people were trafficked, most of them being women and children.
The Director-General of Expertise France, Jérémie Pellet, said the agency was the French agency for international technical expertise, acting as French aid in policy of cooperation and development.
In 2019, Expertise France obtained funding of 18 million Euros from the European Union and France for the implementation of the regional project to support the fight against human trafficking in six countries of the Gulf of Guinea for a period of four years, he said.