31 CHILDREN TRAFFICKED?
THE Ghana branch of the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL), is to visit Shama next week, to ascertain whether 31 children found in a bus at the Cote d’Ivoire border were being trafficked or on their way to visit their fathers as some of the children have claimed.
The police will also investigate why all the children were on one bus and who was taking them across the border.
Superintendent Frank Sammy Kwofie, Head of Interpol Ghana, revealed this when his outfit and some staff of the Women and Children’s Affairs Ministry and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) visited the children at the Madina Social Welfare Centre, Accra, on Wednesday.
The children, aged between two and 18, were rescued on August 18 by Ivorian Interpol who informed their Ghanaian counterparts. Interpol Ghana then brought the children to the Madina Social Welfare Centre, in Accra where they are currently lodging while arrangements are being made to take them to their parents.
Briefing the press, Superintendent Kwofie, said on August 18, his outfit had information from Interpol Ivory Coast that it had intercepted at its border a busload of passengers, including the children en route to Ivory Coast.
He said on interrogation the children claimed that they were on vacation and were going to visit their respective parents in the Ivory Coast.
On suspicion that the children were being transported by an older person apparently for sale, or to be engaged in menial work, Interpol Ivory Coast stopped them.
He said his outfit subsequently sought the assistance of the Women and Children’s Affairs Ministry and UNICEF to transport the children back to Ghana.
Mr Kwafie said that police preliminary investigations revealed that the children were from Shama and Abrobeanu, both in the Western Region.
A team of personnel from his outfit will go and do the necessary investigations at Shama next week so that the police in collaboration with UNICEF, the Women and Children’s Affairs Ministry, can reunite them with their parents. The Member of Parliament for Shama and Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Mrs. Angelina Baiden Amissah who also joined the team to visit the children at Madina, expressed shock by the information and urged the Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.
She however appealed to the police to expedite action into the case so that the children could rejoin their parents soon.
Mr. Iddris Abdellah, project officer of UNICEF, who was among the officials visiting the children, expressed concern about the spate at which child trafficking is being practiced.
He said his outfit in collaboration with the police and the other stakeholders will do their best to get to the bottom of the matter and ensure that the children are reunited with their parents.