Protect victims of human trafficking
The Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Dyane Epstein has charged law enforcement agencies to prioritise the safety of victims in fighting human trafficking.
“Investigating and prosecuting traffickers cannot be pursued at the expense of the safety and well-being of the victim. It should be noted that the best evidence against traffickers remains the testimony of the individuals they have trafficked.”
Ms Epstein was speaking at the opening ceremony of a Training Workshop for Law Enforcement Agencies and Prosecutors in Combating Trafficking in Persons & Irregular Migration in Ghana organised by the International IOM and funded by the Royal Danish Embassy.
She said “In bringing the traffickers to justice, law enforcement is called upon to take a victim-centered approach that would ensure that victims are assisted and protected at all times. This will be one area of focus during this training workshop.”
The Chief of Mission implored “law enforcement officers to go beyond their routine duties and adopt a proactive approach to identify, investigate, and assist in the prosecution of cases of human trafficking.”
That she said was because human trafficking is a dehumanizing human tragedy which denies people of their right to fundamental freedoms and human rights.
She expressed regret that “in the 21st century such a crime is still widespread and indeed a problem that occurs in nearly every country of the world.”
“In order to combat the phenomenon of human trafficking, there is the need for inter-state cooperation, which requires equipping ourselves with instruments and other best practices used in the global context in fighting against it,” she emphasised.
More money needed
participants at the workshop
The Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Frank Adu-Poku said that resource gaps were militating against the fight against human trafficking.
He said there were resource gaps between what was available and what was needed to combat the menace.
“After the passage of the Human Trafficking Act in 2005, it has become necessary for cooperation and networking among law enforcement agencies against human trafficking in Ghana to intensely combat both internal and transnational human trafficking crimes, and promote cooperation in the areas of law enforcement and criminal justice,” he said.
The police chief said although the Trafficking in Persons 2009 Report had indicated that significant progress had been made in the areas of arresting offenders, teething problems remained.
DCOP Adu-Poku gave the assurance that the police would everything possible to reduce the prevalence rate of the menace.
The minister for Women and Children Affairs, Mrs Akua Sena Dansua, in a speech read for her stressed the need for shelter to be provided for victims of human trafficking.
That she argued was necessary to prevent victims who have been rescued from the shackles of human trafficking relapsing into menace.
Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana