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24.10.2005 Regional News

Afrikids organize workshop on child trafficking

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Bolgatanga, Oct 24, GNA - The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Boniface Gambila at the weekend blamed the upsurge of armed robbery, banditry and other social vices in homes, the highways and work places on improper and irresponsible parenting.

He made the observation at a stakeholders workshop on child trafficking, child streetism and child labour organized by Afrikids, a British NGO, for 50 participants drawn from governmental and non-governmental organisations in Bolgatanga.

The aim of the workshop was to deliberate on the root causes of child trafficking, child streetism and child labour, and to fashion out strategies to address this canker.

Mr. Gambila stressed on the need for multi-sectoral approach by all partners to help deal with the problem. He impressed upon the participants to effectively deliberate and come out with solutions, which would enable them to combat child trafficking, child streetism and child labour.

He announced that the government had so far spent 130 billion cedis to help women to undertake small-scale businesses with the aim of empowering them economically to be able to take good care of their children.

Another 45 billion cedis, had also been spent on training street children he noted saying that as a result, majority of them had been trained and were engaged in businesses, thereby reducing the spate of streetism.

Mr. Gambila also stated that under the National Health Insurance Scheme, all District Assemblies have been mandated to register all destitute and the vulnerable for free medical treatment. The Regional Minister entreated Afrikids and other related organisations to go to the aid of Ghanaian street children who were in Burkina Faso as a result of losing their parents through HIV/AIDS. He advocated the need to relocate, counsel and re-integrate them into their communities.

He was, however, happy that the child trafficking law, which was being formulated, would be given approval, saying when passed, it would criminalize child trafficking and anybody caught in the act would be prosecuted. He stressed the need to persuade the people who engaged in such practices to put a stop to it.

The Director of Afrikids Ghana, Mr. Nicholas Kuma, announced that his outfit had been able to provide residential facilities for many adopted street children and provided them with formal and informal education.

He added that with the establishment of the Zuarungu Vocational Project, children of the area who had the intention of migrating to urban areas in the South had abandoned the idea and were being enrolled in the institute.

Participants of the workshop called for more advocacy and sensitisation, stressing that there was the need for parents and children to be more sensitised on the outcome of streetism, child trafficking and child labour.

They also made an appeal to all District Assemblies to play a major role in combating the crime, saying that this could be in the form of logistics or financial assistance.

Participants further called for the economic empowerment for women. This, they noted, would enable them to take good care of their children, instead of giving them out for child labour and child trafficking.

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