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29.03.2006 General News

Don't drive children to hardships - Alima

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Ekumfi-Arkrah (C/R), GNA - Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, on Tuesday said poverty and pecuniary considerations should not harden the hearts of parents to abandon the divine law of love for their children to traffic them into untold hardships.

She said the fact that the institutional framework for the enforcement of Child Labour Laws in Ghana was weak, leading to the promotion of child trafficking it was for parents, who brought those children into the world to love and care for them under any conditions they found themselves.

Speaking at a day's workshop on the Human Trafficking Law at Ekumfi-Arkrah in the Central Region, Hajia Alima Mahama said the Ministry had established a Human Trafficking Secretariat to help to coordinate and monitor the implementation processes of the Human Trafficking Law.

Hajia Mahama said the Ministry had embarked on a series of activities to sensitise communities identified as 'sending communities' on the new law so as to minimise the nefarious practice of human trafficking.

"When we look around, we see lack of development in our communities because we have allowed our children to leave our shores to become victims of trafficking", she said.

She said it was necessary that all stakeholders played active roles in collaboration with the Government to curb the menace of human trafficking.

She said the Ministry was also ready to assist women to earn their own incomes to enable them to support their families and make life easier for their children.

She said the notion that the country was identified as a "supplier, receiver, and transit point for human trafficking" should be a thing of the past.

It was unfortunate that trafficked persons were used as commercial sex workers, potters, fisher boys and fisher girls and for other exploitative commercial activities. She said the high incidence of poverty, the demand for cheap labour as well as other socio-cultural and economic practices, encouraged the phenomenon.

Hajia Mahama said human resource development was a priority of the Government, adding that it had instituted measures such as the Capitation Grant and the Schools Feeding Programme to boost the education of children.

In a speech read on behalf of Mr Isaac Edumadze, Central Regional Minister, he said a high-level commitment to issues concerning children needed to be backed by "laws and resources that ensure that abuses perpetrated against them, are given prompt attention".

He said laws on women and children that promoted equality and prohibited discrimination to basic facilities of life should be enforced, adding, "any person legally liable to maintain a child has a duty to provide him or her with the necessities of life to ensure continued survival and development".