The Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman Constituency in the Eastern Region, Thomas Ampem Nyarko, has called on relevant institutions to intensify public sensitization on the risks of trafficking and child labour in the country.
Mr. Ampem Nyarko has also charged the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to work with relevant stakeholders to provide the necessary psychosocial support to victims of trafficking, especially, child victims.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislator made the call in statement on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday on the state of human trafficking in Ghana .
The MP said “on January 24, 2017, the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service in collaboration with the International Justice Mission, an American non-governmental organisation undertook an operation in some fishing communities in the Eastern Region with an objective to rescue victims of human trafficking”.
He added that “in the course of the operation, 24 children between the ages of 7 and 17-years were rescued and 13 adults were also arrested and are currently assisting the police in investigations”.
Mr. Ampem Nyarko added that these operations happened on the Volta Lake from Labolabo through Kudikofe in the Asuogyaman District where he was a former District Chief Executive to Akateng in the Upper Manya District, all in the Eastern Region.
“Even though the focus of the operation was on human trafficking, the ages of the children bring to light the seriousness of the problem of child labour in this country,” the MP asserted.
The former DCE for Asuogyaman said what is more worrying is that, children as young as six years are victims of trafficking and child labour and are involved in fishing. “Some of these child victims looked frail and malnourished and were virtually naked when they were rescued”, the legislator revealed.
Mr. Ampem Nyarko revealed that he is gathering information of a growing trend of people acting as agents and recruiting young ladies to go and work as house helps in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East and “stories of what they go through there are things I cannot say here”.
He told Parliament that “my interaction with the accused persons when I visited them in their police cells to facilitate their bail revealed to me their level of ignorance about child labour. Some could just not understand why teaching their children fishing could land them in police cells”.
He added that parents and guardians are culpable of giving out their children who are exposed to danger in diverse ways “and to this end, I believe the relevant institutions need intensive public sensitization on the risks of trafficking and child labour. We need to also support law enforcement agencies especially the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Immigration Service. These institutions can work closely with community leaders to reduce the incidents of trafficking".