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Human Trafficking: 842 victims rescued in 2021 – Dep Gender Minister

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Human Trafficking 

Social Workers and NGOs Ghana in collaboration with law enforcement officer in 2021 rescued 842 victims of human trafficking in the country.

The comprehensive Trauma Informed Care Unit of the Gender Ministry reintegrated 812 out of the 842 victims rescued.

On 1 February 2019, the adult shelter was operationalised and 178 adult female victims of trafficking were cared for.

The shelter is still receiving and caring for victims while the children shelter fully operationalised in August, 2020 has also cared for 98 child victims.

These were disclosed by the deputy minister for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hajia Lariba Abudu at the opening of the Human Trafficking Secretariat and Trauma Informed Care Center at the Human Trafficking Secretariat in Accra, today, Thursday, 28 April 2022.

In her keynote address, Hajia Abudu noted that “in all 108 cases were reported and investigated; 42 cases being sex trafficking, 60 for labour trafficking and six being other related cases that started as human trafficking offenses.”

“Thirty-four 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 added.  

The Human Trafficking Secretariat and Trauma Informed Care Center was constructed in collaboration with Expertise France with funding from the European Union.

 The Centre is to enable victims of Human Trafficking report cases for prompt action or response.

This initiative forms part of the Social Protection drive of the Ministry, to ensure effective and efficient protection of the Ghanaian citizens.

Below is Hajia Abudu’s full address:

KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE DEPUTY MINISTER FOR MINISTRY OF GENDER, CHILDREN AND SOCIAL PROTECTION, HON. HAJIA LARIBA ABUDU DURING THE COMMISSIONING OF THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING SECRETARIAT AND TRAUMA INFORMED CARE CENTER ON 28TH APRIL, 2022 AT 10:00AM AT THE HT SECRETARIAT, OSU.

The Head of the European Union Delegation, His Excellency Irchad R. Razaaly

The French Ambassador, Her Excellency, Anne Sophie Avé

The Director, Jeremie Pellet, Expertise France from the France Office

Radhia Oudjani, Director of Governance, Justice and Human Rights Department at Expertise France Office, France

Matiada Ngalikpima, the Project Coordinator, Expertise France Headquarters in France

The Regional Director for the Expertise France Project in Abidjan, Allessandro Rabiossi and The team from Abidjan

The representatives from the Australian High Commission and the US Embassy

The various Country Representative from the UNFPA, USAID and UNICEF

The Chief of Mission for, IOM

Representatives from our Ministries and Departments

Members of the Human Trafficking Management Board

The Country Director, ICMPD

Our Dear partners from NGOs and CSOs

Friends from the media

Ladies and Gentlemen

I bring you warm greetings from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana. I must say I am highly delighted to join you here for the official Commissioning of the Human Trafficking Secretariat and the Trauma Informed Care Center.

Let me express my profound gratitude to the European Union, the French Embassy and Expertise France for funding the project and collaborating with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in the fight against human trafficking in Ghana.

As many of the speakers have already reiterated, the project has four components and seeks to support 6 countries within the Gulf of Guinea. I remember a discussion with my Board members as to whether we are launching this edifice or commissioning it. We chose Commissioning for all it stands for since this building has come at the right time when victim care is central to combating human trafficking.

Distinguished Guest, issues of human trafficking continuous to be a human right violation and a canker in our society that must be eliminated. Ghana is a receiving, transit and a destination country for victims of human trafficking. Likewise, the Gulf of Guinea is characterized by a pattern of cross-border and irregular migration, human trafficking, child exploitation and many more. Trafficking is multifaceted and covers several situations from debt bondage, exploitation, organized crimes and many more.

Ghana has responded to the issues of human trafficking in diverse ways and I will take the opportunity to briefly summarize some strides made in the last year. The Human Trafficking Act, 2005 Act 694 was enacted towards prevention, reduction and punishment of human trafficking offenses, for the rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked persons and its 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.

In collaboration with our law enforcement officers, Social Workers and NGOs Ghana in 2021 rescued 842 victims, gave comprehensive trauma informed care and has reintegrated 812 of them.  On the 1st of February 2019, the adult shelter was operationalized and 178 adult female victims of trafficking has 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 operationalized in August, 2020 and has cared for 98 child victims.  

In all 108 cases were reported and investigated; 42 cases being sex trafficking, 60 for labour trafficking and 6 being other related cases that started as human trafficking offenses.  Thirty – four (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.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guest, issues of Gender Based Violence and Human Trafficking are intertwined and is by no accident the two support centers are at the same place. Let me extent our appreciation to the UNFPA for the Orange Support Center and the Boame App. It is pleasing to know that, as at February, through the center two (2) victims of trafficking were rescued all the way from Bolga after they called the center for help. The Trauma Informed Care Center is also to ensure cases are handled in a timely manner and victims get a comprehensive care as much as possible.

Our distinguished team from Expertise France, the staff numbers at the Human Trafficking Secretariat has risen from 2 in 2018 to 26 as at 2022.  This is part of the reason we made the request to Expertise France towards refurbishing the HT Secretariat to enable the staff work under better conditions to deliver. Apart from this support, a number of activities have been implemented so far under the project where over 300 law enforcement officers have seen their capacities built to identify and prosecute offences of human trafficking. We are also refurbishing a victim transit shelter at Aflao to support rescues and interceptions at the border. Again, the Children Shelter will see more upliftment with play grounds and isolation centers to improve the wellbeing of victims. We have also had exchange programs with our Ivorian Counter part with the other 5 countries joining for a regional conference to discuss the project.

Despite the COVID pandemic, the Ministry through the Human Trafficking Secretariat, the Board and key stakeholders has worked assiduously to counter human trafficking. However, as you can see even though a lot has been done in the area of human trafficking it is still not enough. We believe this partnership will go a long way to reduce the incidence, strengthen government institutions and increase public knowledge on the issues.

Before I conclude for us to sign the MOU and further commission the building, let me express our appreciation to the EU, the French Government and Expertise France for the support. We are grateful and hope the rest of the activities will be done faster as we approach the end of the project.

Thank you.

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