27.04.2004 Regional News

Socio-economic conditions breed child trafficking

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Bolgatanga, April 27, GNA- A day's workshop to devise new ways of dealing with human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation was on Tuesday held in Bolgatanga with a call on District Assemblies to concentrate on improving upon the socio-economic well being of the people.

A facilitator at the workshop, Reverend Sister Constance Gemme, who made the call, said the socio-economic empowerment of the poor through the provision of micro credit schemes for income generation is one way of finding a solution to child trafficking.

She said because of poverty and ignorance, people are easily "lured or coerced away from their homes by promises of lucrative employment elsewhere, particularly abroad, only to find themselves trapped into prostitution, undesirable marriages and other forms of sexual abuse.

Rev. Sister Gemme, who is the Executive Secretary of Collaboration with Women in Distress (COLWOD), an NGO in Tamale said each year about 3,500 women are trafficked from Ghana to Europe, and that most of them end up in prostitution.

The Integrated Community Development Youth Network (INCOYNET), a Bolgatanga- based Youth NGO, organized the workshop for representatives of decentralized departments, the security agencies, traditional authorities and the media.

Rev. Sister Gemme said Ghana is a source, transit and destination country for international human trafficking, adding that majority of the victims are usually children from poor homes, who are sent to neighbouring countries for labour and domestic help.

She said even though the government has taken a number of initiatives to deal with the situation, much more should be done to address the problem of poverty that compel people to look unto others for salvation. The Executive Coordinator of INCOYNET, Mr. Mahmoud Omar said child trafficking has become a major developmental problem in the three northern Regions and urged the authorities to give the issue priority attention.

He said the youth who are the backbone of development and social change are gradually being sold into other forms of slavery through human trafficking.

Mr. Omar pledged his organization's readiness to work with local authorities to educate the people on the negative consequences of child trafficking. 27 April 04

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