Advocates call for multi-agency approach to combating child trafficking and abuse

Some British trained advocates are calling for a concerted effort towards combating child trafficking and abuse in Ghana. The advocates have been championing the eradication of child trafficking and abuse in the UK and other countries across the world under the auspices of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC. They are currently in Ghana to train of agencies responsible for dealing with child trafficking and abuse issues. The NSPCC has so far trained some 300 personnel from the Ghana Immigration Service, the media and other security agencies on issues of child trafficking and abuse. To mark this year’s World Anti-trafficking and Slavery Day, the team of NSPCC advocates would be in Bolgatanga to educate and create awareness about child trafficking and abuse. At a training session with journalists in Accra, Senior Officer at the National Crime Agency and an investigator at the NSPCC, Keith Gibbens underscored the need for appropriate agencies to work together in order to win the fight against child trafficking and abuse in Ghana. [caption id="attachment_99301" align="aligncenter" width="601"] Journalists at the training session[/caption] “We are trying to achieve this multi-agency approach, and it is the only way to tackle human trafficking and make it an uncomfortable environment for the perpetrators to be in,” he said. Human trafficking and abuse is a violation of the rights of children who suffer this plight, and parents, opinion leaders and society in general is entreated to protect the rights of the child instead of exposing them to be abused. The journalists were taken through the dangers associated with child abuse, how to identify issues of abuse or trafficking in children, measures to take in helping victims of abuse, amongst other things. [caption id="attachment_99292" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Keith Gibbens, Senior Officer, NCA[/caption] They were charged to focus on exposing issues of child trafficking and abuse, as well as ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book. Mr. Gibbens underscored the role of the media in bringing issues of child trafficking and abuse to the fore for duty bearers to ensure that perpetrators of these crimes are brought to book by appropriate authorities. “If the traffickers are uncomfortable, disrupted by media activities while working, that is a great way forward to work together to combat this crime,” he added. He observed that though there is the political will on the part of government towards dealing with issues bordering on child trafficking and abuse, there are concerns with implementing these strategies, and the gap ought to be filled in order to achieve desired results. “The political will is huge, and that goes to be proven by the recent introduction of the Ghanaian strategy to tackle human trafficking; the way that it is spoken about in politics, and the way it is reported in the media. “The struggle sometimes is to get that strategy from that level down to the operational grassroot in order for those tools that have been given to the agencies to carry through to investigate the crime to a successful end,” he stressed. A Children’s Service Practitioner with the NSPCC, Charlotte Jamieson, emphasized the need for awareness creation about child trafficking and abuse. “In Ghana, we see a lot of internal child trafficking that could be for sexual exploitation, labour, or things like domestic servitude as well. So we see a whole variety of child trafficking issues.” [caption id="attachment_99304" align="aligncenter" width="601"] Charlotte Jamieson, Children’s Services Practitioner, NSPCC[/caption] “It is really important that people are aware of what child trafficking is, what makes children vulnerable to child trafficking, and it is also important that we enforce the policies and the laws that is already in place in Ghana and make sure that it is used to look at the perpetrators and adults that are abusing the children to make sure that children are protected from child trafficking,” she noted. Charlotte Jamieson highlighted the dangers associated with child trafficking and abuse which includes the emotional, psychological and physical scars it leaves in the lives of most children that are abused.

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By Irene Amesimeku|| Ghana]]>