Story by Carlos Afanou

As per the implementation of the Human Trafficking Act of 2005, Act 694, and the National Plan of Action, the Human Trafficking Secretariat organized a two-day specialized training for law enforcement officials working in the area of human trafficking. This took place in Accra on 14th and 15th July, 2020.

The motive behind the training program is to enable the law officers have a grip on the issue of human trafficking to enable them effectively identify victims, prevent human trafficking and prosecute offenders of human trafficking.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr Afisah Zachariah said that the capacity building workshop for law enforcement officers was important to enable them handle the root causes of trafficking in persons amidst the COVID-19 pandemic since Ghana is a source transit and destination country for human trafficking.

Again, she outlined the frequent transfers, recruitments and promotions of officers in the various law enforcement agencies working on human trafficking and migrant smuggling as one of the reasons for training coupled with inadequate number of experts handling issues of human trafficking.

She continued, "This usually affects the reportage of cases and general cases protecting the vulnerable, especially women and children."

Dr.Afisah Zachariah explained that the forty five (45) law enforcement officers from the various security agencies being trained would help effectively to identify victims of child trafficking in general, victims protection and prosecution of offenders.

Deputy Supt. Alberta Ampofo,Head of the Anti-smuggling and Trafficking in persons unit of Ghana Immigration Service speaking on behalf of deputy controller of Ghana Immigration Service,Mr. Laud Ofori Afrifa called on all law enforcement officers to be vigilant especially in this covid-19 period where perpetrators may want to take advantage and traffick children for all manner of reasons.

She said “when it comes to trafficking,traffickers always have their own agenda and always come up with new tricks”.

Deputy Supt. Alberta Ampofo added that, there is therefore the need to intensify their efforts as law officers to protect children including adults who may be targets of trafficking.

The Director for Anti-Human Trafficking Unit at the CID headquarters,Supt. Mike Baah,addressing the officers said,there is the need to appreciate the various contributions of all stakeholders when it comes to trafficking.He therefore called on all stakeholders to come on board and collaborate in order to bring perpetrators to book.

Mr. Akuetey Nortey, Director of Anti-Trafficking Unit, EOCO, emphasized on the need to have passion to aid the fight in human trafficking and the need to consider the fact that human trafficking does not involve children but adults as well.

Mr. Barimah Akwasi Amankwah the National Coordinator for Ghana NGO Coalitions on the Rights of a child,also added that,there is the need to differentiate what crime is and what our socio cultural practice is as some may claim to be taking care of people’s children.

He said there is the need to seek the best interest, survival and development of the child.He added that one should not also discriminate amongst children but always consider the  interest and participation of the children in all discussion.Mr. Anankwaah said it is unethical to show faces of trafficking victims as this may expose them to future stigmatization.

In conclusion, Ms.Abena A. Asare, the Head of the Human Trafficking Secretariat said, this training is essential and will broaden the views of all stakeholders on human trafficking related issues and it’s consequences. She said participants will also be equipped with better understanding and knowledge to appreciate the situation at hand.

Ms.Asare further explained that, they need selfless and motivated officers to curb the crime as human trafficking is a clandestine organized crime. Adding that, this will pave way for better collaboration, networking and build stronger partnership among the law enforcement officers to combat the menace.
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