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27.07.2005 General News

Tougher law to protect human dignity in the offing

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Accra, July 27,GNA- A bill which seeks to criminalise human trafficking and establish structures and measures to rehabilitate victims, went through the consideration stage on Wednesday, with just the third reading stage left to run the full legislative process. The bill, which may be read the third time on Thursday, is seen as a tough legislation to protect the dignity of the Ghanaian especially, the weak and vulnerable.

The bill defines human trafficking among others as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, trading or receipt of persons. It takes into account the use of force, threats of other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or exploitation of vulnerability.

The term exploitation, according to the bill, include smuggling, the prostitution of human beings, other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs (ritual murder).

Intermediaries, defined as among others, a person who is concerned with any aspect of trafficking and may be known or unknown to the family of the victim would not be spared, as those with information about trafficking who fail to inform the police about this inhuman activity shall also be liable.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children, had told the House earlier that the bill when passed would give the police and other institutions the power to act decisively. He said all ambiguities as to whom and how to combat human trafficking and that parent can no longer cover the activities of human traffickers.

Presenting a report of the Committee on Gender and Children, Ms Esther Obeng-Dappah, Chairperson, said trafficking in persons is a violation of many international laws and Human Rights protocols. She said the vice was being perpetuated by persons or group of persons operating within national and across international borders. "The victims of human trafficking are often denied their basic freedoms and forced to work as prostitutes, labourers, domestic servants, child soldiers, fisher boys and girls."

According to her, the victim may be routinely raped, tortured and brutalized.

She said there was no specific legislation against the practise, "hence there is a need for the passage of this bill."

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