04.05.2005 General News

Eleven Victims of child trafficking rescued

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Bawku (U/E) April 4, GNA- Eleven children comprising eight boys and three girls have been reunited with their families after they were rescued from child traffickers.

The girls between 13 and 15 years were forced into early marriages by the agents.

One of them, Nafisah Mahama Yiri, 15, a class-six pupil at Kulungugu who was taken out of the classroom about two weeks ago, was forced to marry a 54-year-old man in La Cote d'Ivoire who already had three wives and 14 children, some much older than her.

The boys, however, were engaged as farm labourers.

These were some of the stories shared by the victims at an open forum organized by the Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC) in collaboration with Bawku East Women Development Association, in Bawku.

The forum, which was preceded by a float through some principal streets in town, was to draw public attention to the harmful effects on child trafficking.

The National Coordinator of GNCRC, Mrs Susan Sabaa, said child trafficking made the victims vulnerable to dangerous life styles such as drug addiction, prostitution and armed robbery. She said the practice militated against the human resource development of the country and called on Government to address the issue.

"We need a society which is protective of its children to ensure that the society is building its future for itself, "she noted.

Mrs Sabaa noted that policies on the protection of the child were inadequate, adding, "Until government enact laws to safeguard the child's welfare, its signatory to the child's rights convention would only be a gimmick."

The acting Bawku Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Abdul-Rahman Gumah, said last year 281 children were victims of child trafficking in the Municipality.

"The consequences of these figures are obvious and since we cannot relinquish our children's future into the destructive hands of traffickers, we need to stop them," he emphasized.

Mr Gumah said the Assembly would assert its political will by enacting byelaws against child trafficking and called on the security agencies to help implement it.

The Coordinator of BEWDA, Mr Abubakar Shaibu, said broken homes, irresponsible parenting, large family sizes, and forced early marriages, were some of the contributory factors to child trafficking.

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