There is a silent understanding when we see pictures of missing persons circulate our interwebs and media streams, an understanding that births quiet prayers that the person will be returned to the family.
A similar silence becomes the response to shocking stories of men, women who were stolen under the guise of job opportunities, stolen and sold into modern day slave trade. When it comes to our continent, political unrest, lack of border security and poverty become lucrative enablers of human trafficking to become a reality in our home.
Ghana isn’t absorbed from this issue, with it being a source, transit and destination country for women and children in the name of forced labour and sexual exploitation. According to a report by the International Organization for Migration (2009) over 30 000 children were believed to be working as porters in the capital city, Accra. Furthermore, numerous deaths of boys trafficked for hazardous forced labour in the fish industry has been reported, while girls are trafficked within the country to serve under sexual exploitative services. Boy are also trafficked internally for sex tourism.
In an effort to shift the current trends of this atrocity, Ghana’s government, ECOWAS, international organs and noble institutions such as the Kofi International Peacekeeping training center created policies, implemented campaigns and funded strategies towards saving and protecting victims as well as sensitization efforts.
Ghana adhered to ECOWAS’s improvements on legislative mechanisms within governing prosecution of traffickers, further passing laws that criminalize human trafficking. The country has also created specific anti-trafficking bodies such as the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit. Although there have been unconfirmed reports on members of the unit and the police force involved in human trafficking cases, the state used ECOWAS’s policies as a skeletal point of reference for their response mechanisms.
There is also notable international response within the country. Recently, the French Solidarity project under in the International organization “Plan France” donated materials and equipment towards shelters for victim sof human trafficking worth the amount of 18 000 Cedis ( $ 6000.00) to three shelters in Ghana, namely : the Don Bosco Child Protection Center of Tema, the Center for Abused Children in Osu and Make a Difference Shelter home of Mankessim. These shelters are the homes to 175 children who were exposed to fraud, violent kidnappings and work contract scams. Additionally, the French organization training social workers in the shelters specifically on legal support, mobilization of financial resources and psycho-care of victims, all in means towards the psycho-social care training for social workers.
Though funding still relies heavily on international organs, Ghana’s stance on countering human trafficking remains notable, furthering a stance to protect the most precious asset in the country – its people.