The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has called for renewed commitment from all stakeholders to fight human trafficking which is described as a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.
The Chief Director of the ministry, Dr Afisah Zakaria, said while Ghana had made significant progress in combating human trafficking and in particular, child trafficking, attitudes had not changed, stressing that there was still the need for sustained awareness creation to combat the increasing complexities of child trafficking.
At the launch of the Standard Operation Procedures to combat human trafficking in Ghana in Cape Coast, Dr Zakaria, said many victims were subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation which affected them physically and psychologically for life.
The document was developed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the government of Ghana and the United States of America.
The five chapter document covers identification and screening, direct assistance, investigation and prosecution of cases of trafficking in persons, particularly children.
Child Protection Compact
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It was developed as part of the Child Protection Compact partnership between Ghana and the US with funding from the office of the US Department of State to combat trafficking in persons.
Present at the launch included members of the traditional authority, people from the security agencies, the judiciary and other non-governmental organisations.
Dr Zakaria gave the assurance that the ministry would organise sensitisation seminars for some members of the judiciary, adding that a human trafficking management board had been inaugurated while information campaigns were ongoing.
The Deputy Central Regional Minister, Mr Thomas Adjei Baffoe, said Ghana had signed on to global laws protecting children adding, it was time to walk the talk and ensure that the fight against human trafficking succeeded.
The Krontihemaa of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Nana Amba Eyiaba, described issues of child trafficking as disturbing, and called on traditional authorities to support the fight against human trafficking.
A victim of child trafficking, Mr James Annan, who is now President of Challenging Heights, a non-governmental organisation, said it was time to put in serious efforts to stop the perpetrators and rescue victims of human trafficking.
Nana Ajoa Awindor of Obaapa Foundation and Nana Ayimedu Obrempong of Ayimedu Foundation, in their respective remarks, called for the provision of friendly environments for victims of child trafficking to encourage them to speak about their challenges.