The Deputy Majority Leader of the Parliament of Ghana, Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, has admonished African Parliaments to lead the fight against human trafficking by enacting legislations to prevent and punish perpetrators engaged in that act of “illegality”.
Further to that, she wants all African countries to ratify and accede to all Protocols and Treaties that seek to prevent and combat human trafficking from the continent.
Hon. Safo also wants the existing national laws on labour relations of the various African countries strengthened and enforcement of same to make it difficult for persons involved in the business of human trafficking to have their way out.
“Ultimately, all African Parliaments after promulgating anti trafficking laws must set up effective mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the implementation of such regulations”, she noted.
Hon. Adwoa Safo who is also the Minister of State in Charge of Public Procurement, made these observations while addressing the 49th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, African Chapter in Gaborone, Botswana.
She spoke on the topic ‘Parliamentary Agenda for combating human trafficking and modern day slavery in Africa and the Promotion of Human Rights’.
The ten-day event which commenced from August 13 to 22, 2018, brought together various Parliamentarians from the Commonwealth African Countries and their development partners to discuss how they could work together to bring to an end human trafficking which is devastating lives, especially, children, and destroying families.
Commenting further on the issue, Hon. Adwoa Safo urged governments of the various African countries to see human trafficking as a human right issue which must be tackled as such since every year, 2.5 million persons are trafficked world wide.
According to Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the most common form of Trafficking is sexual exploitation which constitutes 79% . The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Other form is forced labour which constitute 18%.
20% of all Trafficking victims are children, she added.
The situation, she noted, is not the best, calling on the international, regional and sub regional bodies to help combat it.
She outlined some of the measures that have been put in place to combat human trafficking from the African continent.
For instance, she said the Khartoum Declaration on AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development are all initiatives meant to combat human trafficking.
In Ghana for example, there also exists the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) which made the act of human trafficking an offense punishable to a minimum of 5 years imprisonment.
The Act, according Hon. Safo who is also the MP for Dome-Kwabenya, was amended in 2009 to align its definition of human trafficking with the 2000 United Nations TIP Protocol.
There also exists the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit to investigate and prosecute human trafficking and related offenses.
The Ministry of Employment & Labour Relations of Ghana, she added, also investigates and recommends prosecution of licensed recruitment agencies suspected of engaging in human trafficking.
‘Many times, the licenses of these recruitment agencies if found guilty are revoked. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is also active in combating this menace and offers shelter and support services to victims of such crimes. With the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy in Ghana, many of our children are given the opportunity to be in the classroom rather than fall victim to human trafficking. Lack of education is a major cause”, she stated outlining measures the Government of Ghana has put in place to combat human trafficking.
However, Hon. Adwoa Safo said there is the need to do more on human trafficking the world over are alarming.
She stated that governments of African countries must create job opportunities in their various jurisdictions to prevent their teaming unemployed youth from falling victims to human trafficking.