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28.07.2005 General News

US hail Ghana's human trafficking law


Accra, July 28, GNA - Ms Rachel Yousey, Reports Officer, US Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, has hailed the Bill on Human Trafficking passed by Ghana's Parliament on Thursday. The President of Ghana is expected to give his assent to the Law, which seeks to prevent, suppress and punish persons or groups of persons, who engage in human trafficking, to become an operational.

Ms Yousey said on Friday in Accra that at least Ghana law enforcement agencies would have a document to work with to stem the significant human trafficking. Hither to law enforcement efforts were disjointed and hampered by the lack of a comprehensive national trafficking law.

Ms Yousey made the remark when she met with journalists in Accra as part of five-nation tour of Africa, to assess the human trafficking situation. The tour takes Ms Yousey to Togo, Benin, Ghana, South Africa and Mozambique.

Speaking on a report on the human trafficking situation in Ghana for the June 1, 2004 and June 1 2005, Ms Yousey said Ghana was a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic commercial labour. According to the Report, Ghanaian children were trafficked internally for forced labour in fishing villages and cocoa plantations and to urban areas in the South to work under exploitative conditions as domestic servants, street vendors and porters.

Ghanaian children are also trafficked to Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria. Recruiters typically target poor children, who are removed from home community with their parents consent. Women and girls are trafficked to Western Europe-principally Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, where they are sexually exploited, while some young Ghanaian women trafficked end up in domestic servitude in the Middle East.

According to the Report, Nigeria females, who moved to Western Europe for sexual exploitation transit Ghana, as did Burkinabe victims on their way to Cote d'Ivoire. Foreign victims of human trafficking included children brought to Ghana for Cote d'Ivoire, Togo Benin and Nigeria for forced labour, involuntary domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.

Ms Yousey said the Report indicated that prominent among those trafficked were children, and yet data on them was rather low, adding that it was only Accra Metropolitan Area that kept convincing data on child trafficking cases of abduction, child stealing and child abuse. The Report also indicated that though resources were scarce, the Government of Ghana remained a leader in Africa for its innovative efforts to educate the public and that many families were unaware of government's laudable initiatives to check abuse and exploitation.

Ms Yousey identified poverty to be at the root of trafficking and said family members were also unaware of the exploitation and the risk the children lured by promises of work outside home were exposed to. Mr Brad Stilwell, an Official of the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Accra, said the US would still be monitoring the human trafficking situation and would enter into dialogue with the Government of Ghana, on the implementation of the Bill when it became operational as law.