Government to build shelters for victims of human trafficking

Accra, May 4, GNA – The government would soon build two shelters in Accra and Kumasi to accommodate victims of human trafficking, Madam Hawawu Boya Gariba, Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) disclosed on Tuesday.

She said this in a speech read for her at a three-day workshop in Accra organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ghana, with the theme; “Protecting People on the Move in the ECOWAS Space.”

The workshop was organised by International Labour Organisation in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, High Commissioner for Human Rights and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

About 16 participants from four countries including Ghana are expected to participate.

Madam Gariba described human trafficking as a crime which needed to be eradicated in the society and that women and children were the most vulnerable victims.

She called for collective efforts in the fight against the menace and said government was committed to caring for the victims of human trafficking.

Madam Dyane Epstein, Chief Mission of the IOM, said the purpose of the workshop was to bring together a wide range of key stakeholders in the area of protection of migrants in order to build their capacity.

This, she said, would enable them to work in unison to implement the recommendations from previous meetings and strengthen mechanisms in place for nationals in the implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol.

Madam Epstein said since 2000, IOM had worked with the ECOWAS secretariat to pilot various initiatives aimed at building the capacities of both the secretariat and member states.

“These activities reinforced the ECOWAS response to the challenges posed by migration in the region,” she said, adding that the co-operation had resulted in the organisation of a large regional conference on protection in the framework of mixed migration flows.

Mr Eric Boakye Peasah, Field Manager, Counter-Trafficking and Irregular Migration of IOM, Ghana, said a common approach on migration management was adopted during the 33rd Conference of Heads of States and governments of ECOWAS held in Ouagadougou in January 2008.

He said subsequently, on 3rd April 2009, the member states adopted a policy that would provide the region with the legal mechanism for protecting and assisting victims of trafficking.

“This policy seeks to establish and maintain a supportive and friendly environment that would provide victims with equitable access to facilities as well as to facilitate their integration and enable them to become functional members of society,” he said.

Mr Peasah added that the regional policy on protection and assistance to migrants marked a significant shift towards a more protection-focused response to mixed migration flows in the sub-region. GNA