As part of the implementation of the Urgent Action Fund Project, ABANTU for Development held a training to increase the awareness of girls and women on the dangers of human trafficking. The training took place on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at Pobiman, the Ga West Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. A total number of thirty-five (35) participants were present for the training. The target group included women, men boys and girls from Kpobiman, Medie, Kotoshie, Amasaman, Opah and their environs. The programme began at approximately 9am with the aim of intensifying awareness on human trafficking in areas that were prone to the issue.
2.0 Welcome and Opening Remarks
The program began with introduction of participants, welcoming and opening address by Mrs. Grace Azaonoo. Mrs. Azaonoo in her welcome address, acknowledged the need for increased awareness on human trafficking as it was a growing issue. She recounted that there had been various incidents of human trafficking that could have been avoided with education and information. She therefore employed participants to listen keenly and participate actively in the learning. She concluded by appreciating participants for making the time to be present at the workshop.
Mrs. Hamida, Harrison, the Resource Mobilisation and Sustainability Manager of ABANTU facilitated the training.
3.0 Presentation on Human Trafficking
Mrs. Hamida Harrison took the group through what trafficking is and what Ghana is doing about it. Human Trafficking, she said, is an international problem, a crime that deprives humans of their rights and dignity for money. According to the UN trafficking protocol, Human Trafficking is the act of;
- And receipt of persons in a form of force, abduction, fraud or deception or the abuse of power.
Human trafficking involves all human beings, be it men, women, girls, boys or children. It can also be within the country or cross country. Human trafficking doesn’t necessarily mean movement. In simple terms, it can be referred to as the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling in that, whereas human trafficking involves transportation and exploitation of human for money, human smuggling on the other hand is the transportation of humans across borders for an agreed fee.
Mrs. Harrison stressed that it was interesting to note that, the rationale or purpose for human trafficking is not only for sexual exploitation but also for forced marriages, work or forced labor, slavery and vital organs like the kidney and liver.
3.1 Channels of Human Trafficking
A country or a community can be one or all of the following channels in human trafficking.
3.2 The Situation in Ghana
According to International reports, Ghana has become the source, transit and destination for human trafficking. It is estimated that, 190,000 people are trafficked in Ghana every year. 49,000 of them are children engaged in child labor and 21,000 of the 49,000 are used for dangerous works in Ghana. Children are moved from fishing communities to farming communities and vice versa for child labor. A typical example of are the children transported to Yeji for fishing. The children are subjected to life threatening tasks where they are made to go into the river to disentangle the fishing nets and most at times they end up hitting their heads at rocks and trees and lose their lives. International communities have even threatened to stop buying cocoa from Ghana because children are made to work on the cocoa farms. There is another situation in Ghana where fifty (50) girls have been trafficked to Russia for sexual labor. There are also instances of girls sent to the Middle East Countries like Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and African Countries like South Africa as maid servants. China ladies were also brought to Ghana, kept in a house and used as high class prostitutes for diplomats.
3.3 What Ghana Has Done So Far About Human Trafficking
- Ghana has signed all the international protocols and agreements concerning human trafficking.
- In 2005, Ghana passed the Human Trafficking Law which has resulted in the arrest and prosecution of human traffickers in Ghana. The minimum jail term is five (5) years.
- Ghana has also established three (3) shelters; two (2) in Greater Accra Region and one (1) in the Brong Ahafo Region to harbor and counsel victims of human trafficking before they interact with the people. Sadly enough, these shelters are not being utilized anymore.
- The Ghana police force has also formed alliance with the Interpol to engage in capacity building on human trafficking.
- The government has established a secretariat in charge of human trafficking.
Although these are good initiatives, they are not enough to eliminate human trafficking in the country since they don’t address the root cause of human trafficking in Ghana. The root causes of human trafficking were identified to include the following:
- Restrictive rules and norms in our community especially on women so at the slightest opportunity they leave their communities.
- Lack of platforms to address human trafficking.
After the presentation, participants were placed into three groups to identify four (4) ways by which awareness on human trafficking can be created.
The following were the submissions made by the groups:
- Group Presentations
3.0.1 Group 1
- Educate the youth groups in community, schools, churches and mosque.
- Bring to the notice of the opinion leaders such as Assembly Man, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and the Minister of Parliament (MP).
- Individual financial assistance to the poor and needy in the community.
- The youth should have the zeal to work in their country and also learn vocational skills as a means of livelihood instead of focusing on white collar jobs.
3.0.2 Group 2
- Public education
- Social media advocacy
- Street campaigning and rallies
3.0.3 Group 3
- Community forum or durbar
- Radio discussions
- Social media campaign
3.1 Comments and Contributions
- Language is a key tool in community sensitization and so should be considered during community sensitization.
- As part of solutions to poverty in Ghana, we should train our children to respect all decent jobs especially vocational jobs and not prioritize white collar jobs.
- For radio discussions, the focus can be on community radios since the community owns them and there will be no issue of buying airtime.
- In doing the social media advocacy, we can tag opinion leaders in the community and country anytime we post something.
- We can also use videos and experience sharing during awareness creation.
The training ended successfully at approximately 3pm with a number of interventions highlighted on how to increase awareness within the Ga West Municipality. Mrs. Hamida Harrison added that the issue of human trafficking can be solved first from our various homes, then to the communities and then nationwide. She reiterated that anytime participants have the opportunity to meet people, they could share the knowledge gained on the different forms of which human trafficking takes place. She said this will aid in increasing the awareness as part of initiatives aimed at eliminating the issue.