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23.02.2006 General News

Ministry to set up Anti-Human Trafficking Fund

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 23, GNA - The Ministry of Justice and Attorney - General's Department, would soon establish a special Fund to provide skills training and capacity building for victims of human trafficking as well as tracing their families.

The fund, to be managed by the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, would also be used for any matter connected with rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and provision of other material support such as shelter for victims.

Ms Estella Appiah, a Director at the Attorney General's Department, who was speaking at the beginning of a two-day stakeholders' roundtable on human trafficking, said the establishment of the fund was in consonant with the Human Trafficking Act 20.

About 50 participants drawn from the Ministry of Manpower and Development, and Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, Donor Partners, ILO/PEC Project, Law Enforcement Agencies and nongovernmental organisations are attending the meeting to deliberate to find avenues to develop strategies to combat the "social evil". She said voluntary contributions from individuals, organizations, private sector and grants from bilateral and multilateral sources would be paid into the fund.

Other sources included proceeds from the confiscation of property connected with trafficking, money from other source approved by the Minister of Finance, and the amount that Parliament would approve for payment into the fund.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, in a statement, said weak institutional framework for the enforcement of child labour laws exacerbated the problem associated with human trafficking and called on authorities to enforce the laws to discourage people from the practice.

She also mentioned poverty, the demand for cheap labour and other socio-cultural and economic practices as factors that encouraged the phenomenon.

She said the Ministry being mandated by the Human Trafficking Law to coordinate and monitor the implementation processes of the law had planned a series of activities to disseminate the law and to also build the capacity of stakeholders.

Parliament promulgated a Human Trafficking Law in August 2005, and the President gave the assent to it in December the same year. The law, which seeks to suppress and punish traffickers, also provides for the rehabilitation and integration of trafficked persons back into society.

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