Gender Ministry committed to addressing human trafficking

Accra, May 4, GNA- The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has stated its resolve to address issues of human trafficking in the country.

Mrs Lariba Zuweira Abudu, Deputy Gender Minister, said issues of human trafficking continued to be a human right violation and a canker in society that must be eliminated.

Mrs Abudu said this at the inauguration of the refurbished Human Trafficking Secretariat and the Trauma Informed Care Centre in Accra.

The Secretariat and Centre are to provide timely and comprehensive care for victims of human trafficking, including counselling services, improved monitoring services and vocational skills.

Expertise France introduced a project to the Gender Ministry to support the fight against human trafficking in Ghana, Benin, Guinea, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo.

The project, which is for a period of four years and with four components, is funded by the European Commission and Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and trusteeships of Expertise France.

As part of the first component, the Human Trafficking Secretariat through the Ministry in January 2020, made a request to uplift and refurbish its office for the staff to work under better conditions to work effectively and efficiently.

Mrs Abudu noted the country was a receiving, transit and a destination for victims of human trafficking with the Gulf of Guinea also associated with a pattern of cross-border and irregular migration, human trafficking, child exploitation, among others.

She said trafficking was a manifold of numerous situations from debt bondage, exploitation and organised crimes and that victim care was vital to combating human trafficking.

The Deputy Minister noted that the country had made some strides in combating the menace, including the enactment of the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 Act 694 to prevent, reduce and punish offenses, rehabilitate and reintegrate trafficked persons and related matters.

‘‘The Ministry together with our partners embarked on many community advocacy and engagements to educate the public on the dangers associated with human trafficking,’’ she added.

Mrs Abudu said in 2021, 842 victims were rescued, given comprehensive trauma informed care and 812 of them reintegrated into society with collaborations with law enforcement officers, Social Workers and Non-Governmental Organisations.

‘‘On the 1st of February 2019, the adult shelter was operationalised and 178 adult female victims of trafficking have been cared for, and we are still receiving and caring for victims at the shelter even as at this moment. The Children Shelter also was fully operationalised in August, 2020 and has cared for 98 child victims,’’ she said.

The Deputy Minister said a total of 108 cases were reported and investigated; 42 sex trafficking cases, 60 labour trafficking and six other related cases that started as human trafficking offenses.

‘‘34 cases were sent to court for prosecution, out of those, 22 cases were prosecuted involving 37 defendants and we have gained 17 convictions for the country,’’ she said.

Mrs Abudu noted that in February, through a call for help to the Orange Support Centre, two victims of trafficking were rescued from Bolgatanga.

The public is asked to contact 0800800800 or 0800900900 for help on issues of human trafficking and 0800111222 for Sexual Gender Based Violence.