Accra, May 10 (IPS) – “It feels like yesterday when I was cheated by a man who claimed to be a travel agent. He promised me a job opportunity and a good salary,” says 25-year-old Cissy, as she prefers to be called. “As a young lady from a typical family who really needed help, I fell for his lies.”
Cissy says that while she was a little skeptical about the offer and fearful of the destination country, the so-called travel agent convinced her she had nothing to worry about.
“He said I had a host mother who would receive me at the airport. In fact, she was the one who sponsored my trip, and I was supposed to work for her, and he claimed the work was legit,” Cissy adds.
However, the story changed when she arrived at her destination country’s airport.
“A man came to pick me up and got my passport. I was taken to a house where I saw other young African women sitting in the room, some with price tags. That’s when I realized what I was getting myself into,” she says.
She and the other women were later illegally smuggled into Iraq to work as housekeepers.
“I saw my own African sisters being physically and mentally abused. Some were sexually harassed and forced on an empty stomach,” Cissy said.
She wanted to return to Ghana, but was only able to do so a few months later.
After numerous failed escape attempts, which forced her to fight for her life, she finally had a breakthrough and was able to return home with the help of a Good Samaritan and the authorities.
Since returning last November, Cissy has devoted her time to advocacy in illegal migration.
“I’m glad I’m alive today to tell you my story, but not all young ladies who travel get the chance I’ve been given to return home to their families,” she says.
Assistant Superintendent of Police William Ayaregah says human trafficking is multifaceted and involves a variety of situations from debt bondage, exploitation and organized crime.
Trafficking in human beings continues to be a violation of human rights and cancer in Ghanaian society because it is a country of origin, transit and destination for victims of trafficking, Ayaregah, deputy director of the Anti-Trafficking Unit in Ghanaian society. The Department of Criminal Investigation.
Likewise, the Gulf of Guinea is characterized by cross-border and illegal migration, human trafficking and child exploitation.
ASP Ayaregah recently said the unit, with a non-governmental organization, End Modern Slavery (EMS), and the Social Welfare Department, rescued four children, two boys and two girls, from a trafficker and reunited them with their families.
He reveals that the two boys, ages 10 and 13, were trafficked by a family friend identified as Rose, a trader from Berekum-Senase in the Bono East Region of Ghana. She said the children would go to school while they stayed with her in Accra.
Instead of sending the kids to school, as she promised, she sent the boys out into the streets to rob.
Ayaregah says that, after her arrest and investigation, the suspect alleged that she sent Ghc30 (about $4 USD) every month to the boys’ parents in Berekum.
In another case, two girls, ages 13 and 17, were brought from Akim-Aboabo in the central municipality of Birim and Adeiso to participate in ‘gari’, a dried cassava trade in Amanase in the Ayensuano district in the east of the country. country.
The Director of Operations of End Modern Slavery, Afasi Komla, explains that “many trafficking victims have had traumatic experiences after the rescue during interviews and court proceedings.
“In their efforts to get help, they have faced ignorance, misunderstanding, victimization and punishment for the crimes their traffickers allowed them to commit,” he says.
He adds that through the foundation, they have been able to help identify and rescue hundreds of victims and support their rehabilitation.
Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hajia Lariba Abudu, says the country has responded to the problems of human trafficking in several ways. It has passed Human Trafficking Act 2005 Act 694 to prevent, reduce and punish human trafficking offenses and for the rehabilitation and reintegration of human trafficking and related matters.
“The ministry, along with our partners, is embarking on advocacy and community engagements to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking,” she says.
Abudu further notes that in 2021 the country, along with law enforcement, social workers and NGOs, rescued 842 victims of human trafficking, provided comprehensive trauma-informed care and reintegrated 812 of them.
“On February 1, 2019, the adult shelter opened and received 178 adult female victims of human trafficking, and we are still receiving and caring for victims in the shelter,” she says. The Childcare also became fully operational in August 2020 and has taken care of 98 child victims.
She added that the department received and investigated 108 cases, of which 42 were human trafficking, 60 human trafficking and six related cases that began as human trafficking.
“Thirty-four cases were sent to court for prosecution. Of those, 22 cases were prosecuted involving 37 defendants, and we have received 17 convictions for the country,” she added.
Abudu says that while much has been achieved, it is still not enough and calls for stronger partnerships to reduce trafficking, strengthen government institutions and increase public knowledge.
This article is part of a series of articles from around the world on human trafficking. IPS coverage is supported by the Airways Aviation Group. The Global Sustainability Network (GSN) is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8, with a special emphasis on Goal 8.7, which “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and and the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and an end to child labor in all its forms by 2025.” The origin of the GSN stems from the efforts of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders, signed on December 2, 2014. Religious leaders of different religions came together to work together “to defend the dignity and freedom of human beings from the extreme forms of the globalization of indifference, such as exploitation, forced labour, prostitution, human trafficking”.
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