To mark this year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the Government of Ghana this week launched an information campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking. The campaign will run through the end of July, culminating on 30 July, which is the UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
The US State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report classifies Ghana as a Tier 2 Watch List country. The designation, for the second year in a row, means that the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and has failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in the past year.
Speaking at the campaign launch in Accra, US Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson said: “We have a moral obligation to end human-trafficking. That is why we take a holistic approach to combatting trafficking, bringing together multiple government agencies, the private sector, civil society, faith communities, law enforcement, academics and, of course, survivors. We publish the TIP Report because we believe we have a moral obligation to end slavery of any kind, anywhere, on this planet.”
In June 2015, the Governments of Ghana and the United States signed a five-year Child Protection Compact partnership with the aim to bolster current efforts to address child trafficking in Ghana. As the first agreement of its kind, IOM Ghana was selected as one of the implementing partners. While Ambassador Jackson applauded the efforts of IOM and the NGO Free the Slaves for their dedicated work towards ending trafficking in Ghana, he was quick to add that these organizations cannot do it alone.
“NGOs are not the ones in positions of authority. They cannot arrest, prosecute and convict traffickers. They do not have ultimate responsibility for the welfare and safety of Ghanaian citizens. That authority and that responsibility rests solely with the Ghanaian government,” he noted.
Through the framework of the Child Protection Compact, as well as other related projects and initiatives, IOM will continue to support the Government of Ghana to protect child victims of trafficking, increase prosecutions of perpetrators, raise awareness about human trafficking, and strengthen partnerships between government and non-government stakeholders.