Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, has expressed displeasure at the use of the phrase ‘modern slavery’ to describe the phenomenon where children support parents in the family business.
Ghana, he said, will not accept that unpleasant nomenclature coined by western organizations to disparage the country’s societal norm.
Speaker Mike Oquaye’s attention was drawn to the phrase when the House was debating the budget estimates of the Ministry of Gender, Women and Children’s affairs.
He said, “In this year of return when we abhor what the whites did here we don’t want to say we have adopted a modern form of slavery in our own society.”
We don’t subscribe to that nomenclature that is gaining ground around the word” he added.
A paragraph in the Committee’s report sub-headed human trafficking / modern slavery expressed concern about how Ghana is being portrayed as a hub of modern slavery by some foreign non-governmental organizations operating in the country.
Members of the committee took a strong exception to it and advised the NGOs to seek education on the Ghanaian culture and traditions before being allowed to operate in the country.
The Committee indicated that NGOs must be aware that though Ghana fiercely frowns on child labour, child abuse and trafficking as specified in Act 1998, Act 560 and the Human Trafficking Act, 2005, Act 694, children learn their parent’s trade so as to carry on the family business, just as is done in developed countries.
“Therefore, picking up children en masse as they are undertaking various trades like fishing, farming, and hawking, and labeling it “Rescuing the children from Slavery” is abhorrent.”
“Members, therefore, advised the Ministry to intensify its education of all citizens on the dictates of the Children’s Act and the Human Trafficking Act and to also ensure that these NGOs, who intentionally or unwittingly portray Ghana as a careless country, are tutored on our way of life.”
Prof. Mike Ocquaye admitted there would be difficulties and abuses but stressed this is not going to be tagged modern slavery and ascribe to Ghana.
He advised the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and committees of Parliament to be mindful of the term in the future.