The surveys also revealed that child labour and trafficking is widely practiced in the fishing communities and has worsened in recent times due to declining fish harvest.

It also indicated that single-parent female-headed families are very susceptible to selling their children to traffickers especially where she has no sustainable income.

This was revealed to participants at a day’s stakeholder’s forum to discuss child labour and trafficking issues in the Central Region where the incident is very pervasive in its coastal fishing communities.

To adequately deal with the situation, the participants expressed the need for Government to adequately resource institutions and regulatory and enforcement agencies, especially the Police anti-Human trafficking unit and Social welfare departments for effective enforcement of the existing laws.

The workshop, organised by Friends of the Nation (FoN), a social-environmental research and advocacy non-governmental organisations brought participants from the security agencies, traditional leaders, district assemblies, fisher groups, Ghana Private Road Transport Union, Ministry of Gender and the media.

The participants also called for inter and intra-agency collaborations and indicated that State initiatives aimed at reducing poverty must target the productive.

They also said there is the need for sufficient awareness to be created to let those who engage in the act to understand the terrible consequences of selling their children into slavery and also urged the media to get involved.

Speaking at the forum, Mr Donkris Mevuta, Executive Director of FoN said the recent report ranking Ghana as a Tier 2 Watch List country in the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report released is worrying.

Ghana’s position meant its Government was not fully meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in the past year.

Explaining the rationale behind the forum, he said Ghana might be subjected to restrictions on US development aid, which would have terrible consequences on the nation, hence the need to get stakeholders together to deliberate on how best the situation could be managed.

Therefore, more awareness needed to be created on the dangers associated with child labour and trafficking and conscious efforts must be made to make the practice unacceptable in the identifiable communities, he said.

Mr Mevuta expressed the need for co-ordinated engagement between anti-trafficking civil society organisations, religious bodies, opinion leaders and community members to fight child labour and human trafficking.

Delivering a presentation on the intensity of child labour and trafficking, Mr Kwesi Johnson of FoN said about one-third of children from seven- 14 are into full-time work.

He enumerated the root causes to include deep poverty, large family size, high rate teenage pregnancy and inadequate social amenities in the coastal fishing areas and ignorance.

He said child labour and trafficking does not do any good to the parents and the community but only creates under-developed national manpower, limited employability skills, entrenched poverty, and social insecurity and makes the children burden on the society.

He said it affects children’s physical and mental health and has significant implications for social and economic development of the individual household and societal levels.

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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