Thursday, February 8, 2007

Ghana: Trafficking on the Rise

There are an estimated 200,000 to 800,000
people trafficked in West Africa each year

GHANA & WEST AFRICA -- The Minister for Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), Hajia Alima Mahama, has expressed worry over the increase in human trafficking, also known as trade in persons (TIP) in the past three decades in West Africa and particularly in Ghana.

According to her, this crime is pervasive and fast growing in the regions due to the involvement of organised crime.

"The movement of trafficked people within, through and from the sub-region is complex", she stressed and added that the victims were usually most vulnerable, poor and least educated such as women and children.

This was contained in a statement read on her behalf by the Director in charge of International Desk in the Ministry, Mrs. Marylyn Amponsah Annan at a workshop organised by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) for policymakers to equip all stakeholders including security agencies, judiciary and the general public in Accra.

These people, she noted were often used as domestics, in agriculture, markets and usually forced into prostitution in Europe or the Middle East, pointing out that, "Many young people seeking gainful employment fall into the hands of unscrupulous recruiters who use violence to gain control over them once they are removed from their homes."

To combat TIP in the sub-region, an action was initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2001 and followed by an Agreement of Cooperation among Police Forces of ECOWAS States to facilitate cooperation in investigations and prosecution of criminal matters especially in issues of cross-border trafficking, she stated.


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