Lack of data on human trafficking continues to be a greater challenge in Ghana and other developing countries.
In Ghana, there is inadequate data on forced labour, trafficking and working conditions of victims at the country level, making it difficult to deal with the issues effectively.
The Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana, Legon, in its quest to generate reliable data on human trafficking to aid academic work as well as policy formulation, has launched “Action Against Trafficking in Persons into, from and Within Ghana (AATIP) project in Accra.
The project seeks to examine the contextual issues embedded in incidents of human trafficking and human smuggling from within and into Ghana.
It will also build the capacity of requisite institutions to detect, prevent and arrest perpetrators while safeguarding and rehabilitating the victims with the overarching goal of reducing the incident of trafficking in persons and protecting victims.
The project will contribute to efforts to ensure that Ghana reduces the incidence of trafficking in person and protection of victims by complying with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and delivering SDG 7.8.
The provision stresses the need for nations to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, ending modern slavery, and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of worse form of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
Targeted areas for the research will include the Coastal belt (Volta, Greater Accra regions, Awutu Senya in the Central and the middle and forest belts (Brong Ahafo region and mining communities) with the expected total of 200 household interviews.
The project is being funded by European Union Emergency Fund for Africa and forms part of the Strengthening Border Security in Ghana project implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
Professor Joseph Teye, the Director of Research, Office of Research, Innovation and Development and the Lead Investigator of the AATIP, said the project would look at collecting data to inform policy development and capacity building on measures that could be adopted to combat human trafficking, which was a global development challenge.
“After this, we are going to work with other stakeholders to organise training programmes for the Police, Military, Immigration, and all those who are working on human trafficking-related issues,” he added.
Prof Teye, who is also the immediate past Director of CMS, said the outcome of data generated would help them come out with stakeholder mapping of all relevant state and non-state actors in the smuggling and trafficking of migrants in the country.
Dr Mary Boatemaa Setrana, the Director of CMS, said trafficking issues were very delicate and were spread across Ghana, especially in coastal areas, forest belt and mining communities.
She mentioned economic, socio-cultural and political as the main drivers of human trafficking.
She noted that their effort to gather evidence-based data in the area was not to negate any earlier efforts but to compliment those on the ground.
She, therefore, called for collaboration between all stakeholders to reduce trafficking issues in the country.
Ms Eunice Adofo Boanya, the Project Officer, ICMPD, congratulated the CMS for being part of the seven Civil Society Organisations and Academia that had just been awarded the funding.
She said: “At the end of the project we are all looking forward to the richness of the data…”.
The project will also examine the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic and its restrictions on trafficking in persons from Ghana, among others.
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