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20.09.2005 General News

Ghana and The Gambia to stem children trafficking

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Accra, Sept. 20, GNA - Delegates from Ghana and The Gambia are meeting in Accra to deliberate on a draft protocol that would provide a bilateral legal framework for monitoring and eliminating child trafficking between the two countries.

The meeting, which is being facilitated by UNICEF and the Ministry of Women and Children (MOWAC), has brought together more than 30 professionals in social work, law enforcement, the Judiciary and International Labour Organisation (ILO) from both countries. Mr J. B. Danquah-Adu, Deputy Minister of MOWAC, said the Government recognised the fact that Ghana was being used as a source, transit and destination of trafficked children.

He said poverty and certain cultural practices were the main reasons why the business of children trafficking was gaining prominence. The Deputy Minister said the mere signing of protocols would not have the desired effect if alternative livelihood and programmes to alleviate poverty were not implemented.

Dr Emmanuel Alui, the Country Representative of UNICEF, said the purpose of the meeting was in line with the Convention of the Child, Africa Charter on the Rights of the Child and other international protocols that sought to protect the welfare and dignity of children. He said child trafficking was assuming alarming proportions and asked that African countries should get serious in collaborating to stop "this modern day slave trade and slavery".

Dr Alui said UNCEF would help Ghana to educate her citizens on the Human Trafficking Bill yet to receive Presidential Assent. Mr Steven Adongo, Deputy Director, Department of Social Welfare, and Ms Fanta Cisse, The Gambian Director of Social Welfare made graphic presentations on the evidence of child trafficking between the two countries.

Mr Ayikwei Otoo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who chaired, urged the delegates to negotiate the draft protocol in the spirit of cooperation.