IOM, 4 ministries to launch SOPs to fight Human Trafficking in Ghana

BY: Isaac Yeboah
The cover of the SOPs for combating Human Trafficking in Ghana
The cover of the SOPs for combating Human Trafficking in Ghana

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations migration agency, will Tuesday morning launch a Standard Operating Procedures handbook to guide the effective management of human trafficking in Ghana.

The 334-page SOP, with inputs by four ministries – The Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry; the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry; the Interior Ministry; and the Attorney General and Justice Ministry, will serve as a ready reference guidelines for all matters relating to migration.

Funded by the United States Embassy in Ghana, the SOP deals with varied Migration-related subjects such as Identification and Screening Protocols, Direct Assistance, Investigation procedures, Prosecution, Referral and Case Monitoring Framework, as well as a special chapter on a review of the Trafficking in Persons Law.

Alexander Billings, Project Manager of the Counter Trafficking Unit of IOM Ghana, told Graphic Online the whole enterprise aims at affording everybody involved with migration, particularly the agencies and institutions responsible for furthering action and getting results, the ready information they require in their daily work.

A forward to the SOPs to Combat Human Trafficking in Ghana, signed on 25th October 2017, by the respective Ministers, and urges support, recognition and full implementation, reads as follows;

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WHEREAS Human trafficking has a devastating impact on the lives of victims, their well-being and security is disregarded by the traffickers who profit off their exploitation. Some victims of trafficking are killed or injured. Others face separation from their families or recruitment into criminal networks, far too many suffer sexual violence or other forms of exploitation and abuse. Most suffer severe mental trauma which can take years to recover from. The Government of Ghana is committed to ensuring victims of trafficking receive the care they require, traffickers are held criminally accountable for their crimes, and taking action to prevent future trafficking.

AND WHEREAS FURTHER, Over the past 15 years, we have taken significant steps towards restoring justice to victims of trafficking. We passed the human Trafficking Act in 2005, amended it in 2009, and promulgated Regulations in 2015. Our efforts are currently guided by the National Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking which was developed in 2017. With this important legislation and policy in place, the framework to protect victims and punish perpetrators exists in Ghana today.

AND WHEREAS FURTHER, To succeed in this fight and fully implement our existing law and policy, we must coordinate our respective efforts to combat human trafficking. Guided by law and international good practices, these standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) provide national standards for combatting human trafficking and coordinating support to victims. The development of these SOPs was achieved through the framework of the Child Protection Compact Partnership, a bilateral agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana, and guided by key stakeholders inputs at the national, regional and district levels, and with participation of both government and non-governmental agencies.

AND WHEREAS FURTHER, These inter-agency standard operating procedures have the potential to transform the quality and rigour of our work to protect victims of trafficking and to prosecute perpetrators. By implementing and promoting these standards, we will strengthen our anti-human trafficking response and ensure the best interests of the victim are prioritized.