Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, has indicated the country’s commitment to continue to join the international community to work against human trafficking and child labour abuses, describing it as the worst form of human rights abuse and violations and serious crimes against humanity.
She said the ministries of Employment and Labour Relations, Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Interior, would collaborate with their Ivorian counterparts to come up with a blueprint of implementing a Plan of Action against human trafficking.
At a summit hosted by the First Lady of Cote d’Ivoire, Madam Dominique Ouattara, in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, Mrs Mahama said Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire were neighbouring countries with a common culture and common vision, and they needed to work together to implement all protocols to eliminate all forms of human trafficking and child labour.
The summit was held to discuss how to end cross-border human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, and the two first ladies signed a joint declaration affirming their commitment to fight against human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour in all economic sectors in their respective countries.
Mrs Mahama said Ghana would also continue to collaborate with key players at the West Africa sub-regional level to address cross-border human trafficking and the issue of worst forms of child labour.
She indicated that in recent years, the governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire had taken steps towards addressing child trafficking in their respective countries and these included the ratification of international treaties and conventions and the building of the capacity of law enforcement officials and the judiciary.
She said even though Ghana, unfortunately, was considered as one of the countries of origin, transit and destination for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, the country had established the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service at the Regional Command Headquarters in nine regions in the country.
Additionally, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has also established the Anti-Human Trafficking Desk in Accra and at three major border crossings points at Elubo to the west, Aflao to the east and Paga to the north of Ghana.
For her part, Madam Ouattara commended the technical committee which drafted the declaration, saying it would go a long way to intensify the efforts of both countries to combat human trafficking.
She said Cote d’Ivoire had put in place measures to protect its people from this menace and was hopeful that the collaboration would help the two countries to protect their citizens from trafficking activities.
The Ivorian Minister of Employment and Social Protection, Mr Dosso Moussa, stated that Ghana was the third country to join forces with Cote d’Ivoire to fight human trafficking and worst forms of child labour after it had signed an MoU with Mali and Burkina Faso.
For her part, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, stated that every country was affected by trafficking and Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire were no exception.