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14.06.2007 General News

Fighting Child Trafficking

Saturday, June 16, 2007 will be celebrated as the African Union (AU) Day of the African Child.

The day was instituted to honour the memory of hundreds of boys and girls who were shot in Soweto, South Africa, when thousands of black schoolchildren marched in 1976 to protest against the inferior quality of their education and demand their right to be taught in their own language.

Thus, since June 16, 1991, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated to draw public attention to the plight of African children.

This year, the theme of the celebration is: 'Combat Child Trafficking', which is apt, particularly for Ghana, since the country has become a source, transit point and destination for child trafficking.

Recently, Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, and the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) assisted in the rescue of 25 children who had been sold to some fishermen in the Kete-Krachi District of the Volta Region and communities along the Volta Lake where they were engaged in fishing.

It is unfortunate that this inhuman practice never seems to go away.

On May 3, 2005, the IOM was again at the forefront of a similar rescue operation where 89 trafficked children were rescued from the Northern Region and reunited with their parents at Srafa-Mpoano in the Mfantseman District of the Central Region.

This was after the launching of “Operation Bring Your Child Home” to scout for trafficked children in fishing communities and other areas of the country.

Indeed, engaging in the sale of human beings is a serious crime more so when it involves the voiceless and innocent children of our land.

For, it is an abuse of their rights and a threat to their development, since most of the children apart from being separated from their families, are forced into exploitative work such as mining, fishing and stone quarrying.

It is crucial at this point for all agencies involved in upholding the rights and ensuring the welfare of children to come together and co-ordinate their activities to stop this canker once and for all.

For the children of today are the pride and wealth of the nation tomorrow.