The 2018 International Anti-Slavery Day has been observed in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region with a call for multi stakeholder partnerships to ending modern day slavery in Ghana.
International Anti-Slavery Day is marked on 18th October every year. The day is to acknowledge that millions of men, women and children continue to be victims of slavery, depriving them of basic human dignity and freedom; raise awareness amongst young people, local authorities, government, charities and individuals of the dangers and consequences of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation and encourage them to be proactive in the fight against it.
At a durbar to marked this year’s International Anti-Slavery Day under the theme: ‘Responding to Trafficking of Children and Young People’, country Director of Afrikids Ghana, Nicholas Kumah, whose speech delivered by Human Resources Manager of Afrikids Ghana, Mrs. Linda Marfoh, observed that Ghana as a country, has done well in relations to proactively addressing issues of trafficking and slavery.
He said various policies such as the Children’s Act 1998, Human Trafficking Act 2005, Child and Family Welfare Policy among other initiatives have been enacted to help in this direction.
“However, as you may all be aware the nature of human trafficking is complex, multifaceted and hence poses a significant challenge for the development of anti-trafficking policies. This is because the root cause of the crime is deeper than any one facet and relates to larger systemic conditions such poverty, forced migration etc. Therefore understanding human tracking in the local context is critical to developing a meaningful response”. The director stated.
In this regard, Mr. Kumah, said, two years ago, AfriKids Ghana in partnership with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) launched a project aimed at reducing the prevalence of modern slavery in Ghana, so as to contribute to the body of evidence of what works; and to help identify which interventions might be scaled up.
The project, according to him, has since its inception built the capacity of 490 professionals drawn from the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Security Services, Traditional Authorities, Community Leaders, Civil Society Organisations and the Transport Service.
He said these professionals, have enhanced their knowledge through the trainings offered them by his organisation and its partners, on issues of child trafficking, modern slavery and sexual exploitation and can confidently, handle these issues when they come to their attention.
“For us at AfriKids, this is the beginning of our crusade towards reducing modern day slavery and trafficking in Ghana and we pray that we will all put in our efforts towards this cause. We recognize the fact that in the fight against human trafficking, multi stakeholder partnerships are critical. They must exist vertically between international, national, regional and local governments and horizontally between law enforcement agencies, service providers and other key actors within and across communities.” He said.
Having thanked the government and all partners who have contributed immensely towards the fight against modern day slavery, Mr. Kumah appealed to the Ghana government to enact more Legislative Instruments (LIs) and enforce the punitive aspects of such laws to act as deterrent to would-be offenders.
Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Frank Fuseini Adongo , said over 3,000 head porters, otherwise known in the Ghanaian context as “Kayaye”, are believed to be children, majority whom are hail from Upper East, Northern, and Upper West Regions and working in cities such as Accra and Kumasi.
Citing the 2014 Child Protection Research Project Report which indicated that girls between the ages of 7 and 18 in the Upper East Region are said to be the most trafficked children in rural areas in Ghana, Mr. Adongo said victims of modern day slavery mainly girls who are mostly promised good lives in big cities but when they are taken there, they end up as domestic servants and do not attend school.
The Zebilla legislator commended Afrikids Ghana for its child-driven interventions that had led to rescuing children from modern day slavery in different parts of the country and also, putting in place livelihood empowerment programmes to ensure their rights are not abused. He, therefore, challenged other NGOs, traditional and religious organisations to join the fight against modern day slavery and any forms of practices that affect the fundamental human rights of children and women,
In a solidarity message, Dominic Abugre of Core Group, a coalition of state and non-state organisations working to end modern day slavery and child trafficking, cautioned perpetrators of child trafficking, child exploitation and child slavery to stop their ill practices or face the full arm of the law if caught.
Children at the durbar carried placards with inscriptions: Trafficked and victims of slavery have dignity; Child trafficking is destroying our future, let’s help end it; and Create awareness to stop child trafficking.
With funding support from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK charity fighting against child abuse and the prevention of cruelty to children, the commemoration was organised by Afrikids Ghana.
Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1FM|William Nlanjerbor JALULAH|Ghana