The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, has underscored the need for stakeholders and partners concerned with the development and protection of children to come together and join the ministry to fight the issue of child trafficking.
At the launch of the “Coalition of NGOs Against Child Trafficking” (CNACT) held in Accra yesterday, she said at every point in time, many people were trapped in “modern-day slavery, including men, women and children.”
She stated that globally, human trafficking was a lucrative business for traffickers, fetching billions of dollars for those involved in the trade with little or no risk.
The organisation was launched to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of children in Ghana through advocacy, public education and awareness creation.
The initiative is to support the fight against child trafficking, eradicate the act and punish the perpetrators who engage in the act in Ghana.
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Ms Djaba said the ministry, in collaboration with the stakeholders and partners, would ensure the protection and empowerment of the vulnerable.
She added that the ministry would view the activity as an obligation towards achieving the goals on the ‘4Ps’ in implementing the Human Trafficking Act and the national plan of action.
“I believe each NGO will definitely be found in prevention, protection of victims and also support the process of prosecution (4Ps) of alleged suspects of trafficking,” she stated.
Ms Djaba indicated that a number of legislations had been enacted to ensure victims of trafficking were protected while perpetrators were punished for the offence and other related criminal conducts.
She revealed that a new Human Trafficking National Plan of Action had been developed to guide the implementation of the act and the human trafficking management board to be reconstituted and inaugurated to offer quality protection for the victims of trafficking.
For her part, the Child Protection Specialist of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Madam Emelia Allan, said UNICEF would partner the organisation in reducing all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation against children in the country in order to allow the child to get access to education and feel protected in the society, in line with the country’s sustainable development agenda.
An executive member of the CNACT, Mr Leonard Kobina Ackon, explained that child trafficking in Ghana was prevalent in the fishing communities, cocoa-growing areas and mining areas.
He indicated that about 50,000 children worked in Ghana’s fishing industry, with tens of thousands working on Lake Volta and approximately 125,000 children working in the mining industry where they were subjected to highly dangerous working conditions.
He added that across Ghana, about 1.2 million children, 14.2 per cent of all Ghanaian children, were engaged in hazardous forms of child labour and some of the children were even forced into early marriages in some parts of the country.
He said CNACT was a child-focused, transparent and accountable organisation that sought to end child trafficking in its various forms through networking, supporting prosecution, building capacity, public education and advocacy in partnership with state and non-state agencies.
The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia, who was present at the function, commmended the coalition for its initiative and urged the members to work towards the achievement of their goals.