Parliament worried over human trafficking

Accra, May 14, GNA – Parliament on Wednesday expressed disquiet on Ghana being identified as a source, transit point and destination country for human trafficking, urging government to commit adequate resources to halt the growing menace.

Members of the House have also urged the security agencies and other stakeholders, to, in the face of limited resources; consolidate their efforts to tackle the heinous crime that has serious social consequences, and which runs in tandem with organized crime.

The House was also unanimous in calling for strengthening and resourcing of institutions mandated to protect civil and human rights of the people, and to adequately enforce laws against human trafficking.

The Legislators were reacting to a statement read on the floor of Parliament by Mr Isaac Osei, the MP for Subin, highlighting the 2014 ‘Trafficking in Persons Report’ published by the US Department of State.

The Report cited Ghana as a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.

It stated that even though the government of Ghana was making significant efforts to curtail the phenomena, it (Government of Ghana) was not complying fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, as intra-country trafficking was far more prevalent than transnational trafficking of persons.

‘Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labour within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, artisanal gold mining, and agriculture. Ghanaian girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are subjected to prostitution within Ghana. Child prostitution is prevalent in the Volta Region and is growing in the oil-producing Western regions,’ said the State Department Report.

‘Ghanaian women and children are recruited and transported primarily to Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, South Africa, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States for forced labour and forced prostitution.

Women and girls voluntarily migrating from primarily Vietnam, China, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Benin are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation after arriving in Ghana. Citizens from other West African countries are subjected to forced labour in Ghana in agriculture or domestic service,’ the report stated.

Mr Osei told the House that Ghana had not shown sufficient commitment at the level of government and as a people to deal with the problem of human trafficking which all modern countries sought to eliminate.

He said it was time for Parliament to send a ‘strong’ message to government that ‘we should no longer continue to marginalize a large section of our vulnerable people.’

‘Let us commit to prosecute the traffickers, let us commit to protect the victims and let us work to prevent human trafficking of all kind’.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, MP for Wa West, said Ghana had to take upon itself to assess the impact of anti-human trafficking laws, and urged the government to find resources to combat the menace.

Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh, MP for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, asked the House to push the matter to the highest level, adding that there was the need for a comparative analysis of the situation with other countries in the West African sub-region.

He regretted that the borders of Ghana were porous, and urged the security agencies to be extra alert to deal with the situation.

Other contributions from both sides called for proactive policies and increased education through educational channels and the media.

Mr Joe Ghartey, Second Deputy Speaker who sat in the chair, directed that copies of the US Department of State ‘Trafficking in Persons Report’, 2014, should be made available to the Ministries of Education, Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Human Trafficking Management Board and the Ghana Police Service among others.

He further directed the Minister of Employment and Labour, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, to brief the House on the issue within two weeks.

GNA


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