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01.04.2004 General News

Workshop on Human trafficking bill opens

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Accra, April 1, GNA - A workshop on the Draft Bill on Human Trafficking opened in Accra on Thursday with a call on stakeholders to make inputs into the Bill to enable it to stand the test of time. The meeting was to study the proposed Bill, discuss it among the stakeholders and to analyse and make recommendations on it.

About 50 participants drawn from the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, Police Service, Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF, Ghana Immigration Service, International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), International Labour Organisation, (ILO), the United States Embassy and Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) among other organisations are attending the two-day workshop.

Mr Eric Okrah, Project Co-ordinator, said Ghana had until now no specific law on human trafficking, so offenders were often tried under only related laws rather than specific ones, thus making sentences minimal compared to the magnitude of the crime. He said the workshop was expected to come out with a memorandum to be sent to the Attorney - General's Department as an input to the Bill. He said he was hopeful that the inputs by the various stakeholders would enable Parliament to come out with a law that would meet international standards in this regard.

Mr Okrah noted that the Bill when passed would regulate how the issue could be addressed and how to handle victims in terms of resettlement and rehabilitation and also for participants to compare theories. The Coordinator said the Bill would set up a National Taskforce to deal with all aspects of human trafficking in Ghana.

Ms Elizabeth Hagan, Head of the Child Labour Unit, said among the ongoing activities to stem human trafficking was the creation of a Human Trafficking Unit by the Police. It would launch of a programme known as 'Operation Bring Your Child Home' and carry out sensitisation campaign in selected schools. She called for sustained education in the media.