24.10.2007 General News

Workshop For Human Trafficking Management Board Opens

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A three-day workshop on human trafficking opened in Ho in the Volta Region yesterday with a call for a coordinated and vigorous effort by all countries to help address the global menace. Mr Daniel Dugan, Deputy Minister for MOWAC, who opened the workshop, said human trafficking had become a crime that was pervasive and growing, especially in West Africa.
He added that like many parts of the world, the sub-region had witnessed a dramatic expansion in this area over the last 30 years. 'The involvement of organised crime has driven this growth and increased the number of regions that suffer its deprivations,' he added.
The workshop, organised for Human Trafficking Management Board of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) on the Draft National Plan of Action, seeks to finalise actions on the draft for implementation.
Mr Dugan said the movement of trafficked children through and from the sub-region had become complex with the worst affected being women, children, the poorest and least educated. 'This offence is a crime so serious, so pervasive and so dynamic that only co-ordinated and vigorous efforts of all states will be able to address it successfully,' he said.
Mr Dugan said in 2001, ECOWAS states adopted an Initiation Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Ghana was a party.  'In this regard, a National Task Force was set up with His Excellency The Vice President as its chairman. The initial plan afforded us the opportunity to address some of the issues in trafficking.'
He said a feature of the plan of action was the development of national legislation and policies to address trafficking issues such as protection, support, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims.
Mr Dugan said the passage of the human trafficking law in 2005 had provided protection to both children and adults against trafficking.
The law covers criminalisation of the act, complaints and arrest, rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration, establishment of Human Trafficking Fund and Human Traffic Management Board among other things to see to the overall well-being of victims.  He said a comprehensive programme for the dissemination of the Human Trafficking Law 2005 was ongoing among 'sending and receiving' communities in the country.
Mr Dugan noted that capacity building workshops to inform, consult and involve stakeholders on the implementation process had also been undertaken to empower them to better do the work.  He lauded the partnership and support by the UN system such as United Nations Children's Fund for the training.
Dr Raymond Atuguba, lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, who spoke on the International Legal Framework, said human trafficking was both a national and international problem with Africa and Asia top on the list.
He observed that there were clearly established routes in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Niger that had been identified and West African countries were trying to address the problem within the framework of ECOWAS.
Dr Atuguba said the Palermo Protocol enjoined all state parties to provide protection to victims, protect privacy, assist in administration and legal processes and accept and facilitate repatriation.
The protocol says state parties must ensure that law enforcement agencies exchanged information and strengthened border control mechanisms.
Mrs Marilyn Amponsah-Annan, Director, International Desk for Children of MOWAC, who gave an overview of the situation in Ghana noted that poverty and ignorance were the main factors that allowed parents to give out their children.
She noted that strict adherence to some socio-cultural practices also promoted human rights, which could be internal or external and called for enhanced collaboration among NGOs, Ministries, Departments and Agencies and civil society organisations in networking and mobilising resources for better programming.

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