MIGRANT ON SMUGGLING AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING WORKSHOP HELD
7/9/2012 12:43:41 AM -
The Interior Minister, Mr. William Kwasi Aboah, has called for an amendment to the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) to include human or migrant smuggling as a criminal offence, as human trafficking and migrant smuggling have become issues of concern.
Mr Aboah said considering the sophisticated nature of how the twin crimes of human smuggling and trafficking were perpetrated with perfection and impunity, there was the need to adopt multi-faceted partnership approaches if they were to achieve any remarkable successes at containing them.
He said it was against the background of these developments that the Ministry of Interior and the Government of Ghana were appreciative of the efforts of the European Union in giving a grant to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) towards implementing a 3 year action programme dubbed: 'Countering Human Smuggling and other Irregular Migration."
The Minister assured the stakeholders of his Ministry's support to resource the GIS.
He was speaking at the opening of a two-day Stakeholders' Conference on Human Smuggling and Trafficking, which was organized by the GIS on the theme: 'Countering Human Smuggling and other Irregular Migration'.
In her part, the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah, observed that human trafficking was estimated to be the third most profitable illegal economic business in addition to illicit drugs and arms trafficking.
Mrs Azumah-Mensah said the Global Alliance Against Forced Labour (2005) estimates that a total of US$ 32 billion annual profit is generated by the human trafficking industry, US$15.5 billion of which is made in industrialized countries, US$9.7 billion in Asia and US$13.00 billion averagely generated per year by each forced labour.
According to her, the situation was of great concern to all countries and stakeholders on the grounds that the incidence of trafficking and human smuggling affected national development by increasing poverty in Africa.
She noted that incidence of terrorism, political unrest and such situations inhibiting peace and development could be attributed to human trafficking and smuggling.
Mrs. Azumah Mensah, however, expressed hope that the challenges of the USA Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report relating to prosecution, victim protection and the inadequate capacities of partners, among others, could be overcome if stakeholders were willing to partner one another through enhanced collaboration, sharing of good practices and effective referral system.
In a statement, the Acting Director of the GIS, Dr. Peter A. Wiredu, disclosed that his officers, between January 2010 and May 2012 had dealt with 124 cases involving migrant smuggling through interception at the various entry points, especially at the Kotoka International Airport.
Dr Wiredu said most of these smugglers attempted to use Ghana as Transit route to Canada and Europe with the source countries being Asian.
He expressed appreciation to the Ghanaian Parliament for recently passing into law a Bill that criminalized, 'migrant smuggling'.
In his remarks The Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation on the Thematic Programme on Migration and Asylum to Ghana, H.E Ambassador Claude Maerten, noted that the underlying principles of the Global Approach had been solidarity, balance and true partnership with non-EU countries, based on the identification of common interests and challenges.
Ambassador Maerten said the EU and its member states were aiming at building the capacity of the GIS and its partner agencies to use information gathering and intelligence knowledge and skills, coupled with the increased expertise of its officers to effectively tackle the criminal networks behind organized irregular migration.
He said to further build the capacity of immigration officers in the fight against these crimes, 25 officers had been trained as trainees in Anti-Human Smuggling and Trafficking while 10 officers were internally certified and gazetted as Document Fraud Experts.