The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection says it has begun investigations into the BBC’s reportage of Ghanaian children wrongly taken in anti-human trafficking raids backed by United States (US) Charity International Justice Mission (IJM).
Deputy Minister Ms Francisca Oteng Mensah, though declined to comment on the Ministry’s next move due to the ongoing probe into the report, told the GNA in an interview that, a Committee had been set up to investigate the claims by the British public broadcaster.
“A committee has been set up to look at the matter, because they are looking into the issue and l may not be able to say much or comment further,” she said.
Ms. Oteng Mensah said at the right time and with the completion of the investigations, their findings would be communicated to the stakeholders on the issue.
She assured the media and other stakeholders to wait for the inquiries to be completed because they would be the first to know when the curtain was drawn.
BBC on July 10, 2023, published a report on an anti-human trafficking raid carried out at midnight in Mogyigna, a remote hamlet in the Northern Region of Ghana.
The said raid, as reported by the BBC, was an IJM-Ghana Police collaboration under Ghana’s Human Trafficking Act 694 of 2005.
It involved the forcible removal of four children, which included an 11-year-old girl, who the report stated was yanked with the others as she slept with her grandparents in one of the huts in the hamlet.
However, the IJM in a three-page press statement issued on Tuesday, and copied to the GNA, said the BBC’s report of the raid contained “material inaccuracies” insisting that they were fully transparent with the Police thus provided them with the facts of the case.
This includes a distinction between suspected cases of trafficking versus suspected cases of exploitative cases of child labour.
They insisted that the Police and the authorities concerned would have to make their own determination if the law had been violated.
“In the ‘Hiltop’ case referred to by the BBC, IJM was fully transparent with police providing them with the facts of the case,” the statement said.
It said the Police conducted their own investigations, determining that there was sufficient evidence before proceeding with the operation.
Mrs. Linda Asante Adjei, the Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association told the GNA that cross-checking of facts was important before publication.
“Before we bring out any information, we need to cross check our facts and know that what we are coming out with is accurate.. if whoever had done an in-depth investigation to probed further, I am sure he will have come up with the correct information,” she added.
She urged Journalists to do facts checking to come out with the right information instead of basing it on one-sided reports.
She further advised against the “quick-to-break the news” attitude by some media establishments as it was one of the issues that compromised facts checking and caused some media houses to “commit errors.”
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