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28.06.2004 General News

Child trafficking Bill at final stages of passage - Minister

By GNA

Accra, June 28, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Women and Children Affairs, on Monday said the Bill on Human Trafficking was at its final stage and would soon be submitted to Cabinet for consideration.

She said the Ministry was collaborating with the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment and the Attorney General's Department to put the finishing touches to the bill. She was speaking at the opening a day's workshop on: "Collaboration in Preventing and Combating Child Trafficking in Fishing Communities in Ghana."

It was organised by the International Organisation for Migration, a nongovernmental organisation (NGO). Mr Emmanuel Quaye, Chief Director of the Ministry, read Mrs Asmah speech when he opened the workshop for 35 participants drawn from the media, human rights activist organisations and NGOs that deal with children welfare on her behalf.

Mrs Asmah said till date there was no specific law prohibiting traffickers from carrying out their illegal activities hence the gravity of the business.

She noted that the Criminal Code of 1960 (ACT29), the only law close to that needed to arrest culprits of child trafficking, did not make specific reference to the term "trafficking".

"It does, however, contain provisions, which create offences related to topics like abduction and slavery dealing."

Mrs Asmah said: "These provisions do not, however, meet international standards to combat the modern trends in trafficking." She said it was a common practice in Ghana for parents to give away their children to be looked after by relations and friends on request.

She said the exploitation of trafficked children was a lucrative venture yielding huge amounts of money to the traffickers and their collaborators at the expense of the children and parents. Mrs Asmah expressed the hope that the workshop would develop a framework for strengthening the efforts of all collaborators in the field to help to stop child trafficking.

Mrs Angela Ofori-Atta, Deputy Minister, Manpower Development and Employment, who chaired the function, congratulated the security agencies and the Ghana Embassy for their collaboration, which resulted in the repatriation of 12 children from Gambia. 28 June 04

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