The Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr Afisah Zakaria, has called for more punitive measures against human traffickers.
Speaking to GhanaWeb on the sidelines of a capacity-building workshop for the police, immigration, and other law enforcement agencies, Dr. Zakaria said although the current penalty regime is good, the devastation human trafficking brings to victims, their families and society calls for more stringent punishment.
Ghana’s Human Trafficking Act (2005) prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes a minimum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment for all forms of trafficking.
Dr Zakaria told GhanaWeb on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, that if she was suggesting a more stringent punishment for human traffickers, life-imprisonment would be her submission.
“I will say they should keep such people behind bars forever. It is something we know is not good. It is something we know affects everybody. We are not seeing it physically but we know the effects it has on society,” she said.
The workshop was held at the Coconut Groove Regency Hotel and organised by Ministry of the Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The aim was to ensure that security officers working in the field of trafficking are well-equipped to fight the menace.
The Chief Director of the Gender, Children, and Social Protection also noted that Ghana was making significant progress in the fight against all forms of human trafficking.
“Instead of being on the Tier 2 Watch List, we have been moved out of it to Tier 2 itself signifying that we are making progress. This year, we have had an allocation of GHS1 million into the Human Trafficking Fund and this shows the commitment of the government towards human trafficking,” Dr Afisah Zakaria stated.
Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children, and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex.
Since 2003 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has collected information on about 225,000 victims of trafficking detected worldwide.
Major international organisations monitoring the incidence of Human Trafficking in Ghana say the country has not fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.