Modern slavery in Middle East, a silent nightmare of the African woman

Middle East USA World

A GNA
feature by Dennis Peprah, GNA

Sunyani, Sept. 25, GNA – Mostly
women and girls from Sub-Saharan Africa are trafficked into the Middle East
every year, and many are unable not trace their way back home.

Governments are aware of the
problem of human trafficking, but state interventions seem very minor to be
effective.

Obviously, solution for human
trafficking is creating job opportunities so that people will desire to stay at
home and don’t want to go abroad.

Recruiters often target young
women and girls with offers of good paying jobs in domestic service or the
hospitality industry, but instead, trafficked most of them for domestic and
commercial sex work as well as slavery. Typically, “travel agents” as we call
them in Ghana advertise Kuwait, Qatar, Greece, Libya and Saudi Arabia as ideal
destination for young enterprising and unsuspecting Ghanaian women and girls.

Women and girls have been
trafficked to these countries because recruiters made them understand and
believed that it was easy to obtain relevant documents to stay and work in the
Middle East.

Incidences showed traffickers
advertise “juicy” economic opportunities in the Middle East and are able to
convince their victims to willingly sign for the journeys that lead them to
being trafficked.  But, sadly, most
victims left in servitude, and they are sold into commercial sex work, exposed
to serious exploitation, torture, harassments and worst forms of human rights
abuses.

United Nations defines human
trafficking as the recruitment, transfer or harbouring of persons through force
or deception for the purpose of any form of exploitation.

Statistics  

In fact, no comprehensive data
exist on the number of Ghanaian women and girls trafficked into the Middle East
or elsewhere. But, available statistics from the Anti-Human Trafficking Units
of the Ghana Police and Immigration Services had 20 convictions for offences of
human trafficking and 12 for other related offences in 2018.

Ten individual defendants were
charged with human trafficking offences and jailed between five and seven years
in the same period, says Mrs Freda Prempeh, the Deputy Minister of Gender, Children
and Social Protection.

In an interview with the Ghana
News Agency (GNA), the outspoken Legislator of the Tano North constituency in
parliament said within the period, 92 human trafficking cases were
investigated.

Out of this number, the Police
investigated 77, Immigration 14 cases and the Economic and Organised Crime
Office (EOCO) one case. There was however, a significant improvement in 2018 in
terms of prosecution unlike 2017 when they had only four convictions.

Intervention

Mrs Prempeh explained her
ministry is doing everything possible to ensure that cases of human trafficking
in the country are brought to the barest minimum.

The Ministry has developed the
Human Trafficking National Plan of Action (NPA 2017-2021), a comprehensive
document to support the effective implementation of the Human Trafficking Act
2005, Act 694. It covers four thematic areas– prevention, protection,
prosecution and partnership.

More so, the Ministry has trained
law enforcement officials, social workers and civil society actors and media to
educate and support victims of human trafficking. To improve prevention, the
ministry has printed more information, education and communication materials to
raise and intensify public awareness.

Ghana has successfully
established adult shelter to rescue female victims of human trafficking, the
shelter, according to the Deputy Minister was operationalized in February this
year. So far, about 35 inmates have gone through rehabilitation by receiving
medical screening, counselling, training, housing, feeding and others.

Currently, the Gender Ministry is
partnering with private shelter to care for rescued children of human
trafficking in the country, as the ministry finalise modalities for the
operationalization of shelter for children.

Achievement

The country made significant
strides in fighting human trafficking, rating a Tier Two Ranking in the Annual
Trafficking in Person (TIP) index, the Eighteenth Annual TIP report revealed.
This shows that the government increased efforts in combating human trafficking
in 2017, according to the 2018 report, which assessed the anti-trafficking
efforts of 187 governments around the world to fight human trafficking
including the United States.

The report, released annually by
the United States Department of State, lauded Ghana’s efforts in implementing a
national anti-trafficking plan, prosecuting and convicting an increased number
of labour and sex traffickers, and increasing cooperation across
anti-trafficking government agencies.

Additionally, Ghana adopted
procedures to identify and refer trafficking victims to necessary services and
supported a range of anti-trafficking awareness raising activities, the report
stated.

“Although Ghana does not
meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, these
increased efforts have resulted in Ghana’s upgrade from Tier 2 Watch List to a
Tier 2 ranking in the 2018 TIP Report”, the report stated.

The TIP Report recommendations
include: dedicating increased resources to holding traffickers accountable and
providing care to victims, addressing the corruption and interference that
impede the investigation of trafficking crimes and developing and providing
specialised services for child and adult victims of sex trafficking.

Way
Forward

Though government requires
commendation for the achievement, this reporter believes that more is required
if the country can jump to Tier One. There is urgent need for the government
and her development to stimulate action and create partnerships in the fight
against trafficking of persons.

Obviously, Ghana’s achievement
demonstrated how much could be achieved under President Nana Addo Dankwa
Akufo-Addo’s government in fighting human trafficking in the country, an
indications for state and non-state actors to support the government in that
direction.

Conclusion

Undeniably, Ghana tends to
underestimate the scale of human trafficking, believing it occurs in other
countries, but rather it is here at our doorstep.

Because it’s a crime that can go
unnoticed due to its hidden nature, intensifying awareness among communities is
extremely important so that it can be discovered and reported, a best way to
combat trafficking in humans.

Heightened awareness helps people
to understand the psychological and emotional toil, torture and trauma
unsuspecting victims of human trafficking go through.

It’s important for the government
to use the International Human Trafficking Awareness Day to call attention to
how recruiters put unsuspecting victims to vulnerabilities.

The Day, which falls on July 30
every year was set aside by the United Nations in 2010, during the adoption of
the Global Plan for Action to combat Trafficking in Persons (TIPs).

Being celebrated annually to
create awareness and intensify advocacy on dangers of human trafficking, the
day urges governments worldwide to adopt coordinated and consistent measures to
combat human trafficking.

GNA

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