THE GROWING MENACE OF CHILD TRAFFICKING
THE latest report that 390 child slaves are locked up at Krachi in the Volta Region, published in this paper yesterday, is indeed disturbing, if not disconcerting.
According to our correspondent, these children are under bondage, labouring for fishermen on five islands in the vicinity of Kete Krachi in the Volta Lake area.
These children, the report stated, are among 424 others registered by the Counter Trafficking Unit of International Organisation for Migration mission in Ghana.
Mr Eric Peasah, Counter Trafficking Project Manager, told our reporter that it costs a lot of money to rescue these children because 'we have to compensate the fishermen before they are released to us'.
The Times is indeed worried about the alarming rate at which child trafficking is going on in most parts of the country and called for urgent steps to check it from getting out of hand.
Some of these children mostly between 10 and 15 years are being used as housemaids, farmhands and in other difficult economic activities. Sexual abuse and corporal punishment are some of the hazards some of these children go through at the hands of their slave masters.
The problem of child trafficking can be attributed to a number of factors including poverty and broken homes.
It is on record that in July 2006, an eleven-member states of the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) including Ghana, entered into multilateral cooperation agreement to fight human trafficking in West Africa.
This led to the passage of the Human Trafficking Act 2005 in Ghana on December 9, 2005.
The Times will like to find out what has happened to this particular Act in view of the high incidence of human trafficking in the sub-region and indeed Ghana.
The Times urges the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to take the necessary steps to liberate these innocent children who are being held in bondage through no fault of theirs.
They have lost all their rights and freedoms for which reason their survival and development are severely jeopardised.
The paper also believes that the problem of child trafficking does not rest solely with the ministry. It is a national problem that should engage the attention of all Ghanaians.
The paper suggests that educational programmes should be encouraged in communities where child trafficking seems to be endemic to bring the situation under control.
Needless to say, stiffer punishments for traffickers should be meted out to serve as deterrent to others.