In recent weeks, the whole of Africa and Africans in the Diaspora have been complaining, demonstrating and writing about Africans being sold in Libya. The Libyan African slave trade has dominated social media platforms in Africa.
The anger is real, so is the hypocrisy. In today’s Public Agenda, we report that, state authorities in Ghana has failed to investigate over 190,000 cases of suspected human trafficking cases in Ghana This is due to inadequate funding for the institutions responsible for such investigations, a report by Perfector of Sentiments Foundation has revealed. These cases were recorded between 2012 and 2017.
As we celebrate International Human Rights Day, it is important for us to shine some light on the cases of the ”mmobrowa” (down trodden) who remain victims of human trafficking, slavery, abuse and discrimination in our own country. It is one thing to walk through the desert to Libya and become a victim. It is another thing to become a victim in your own country because your government refuses to fund the institutions responsible for your captivity. When pitched against recent outcry about slavery in Libya, the hypocrisy becomes palpable and even more brazen.
So we worry about African youths being sold as slaves in Libya. More than that, Ghana remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, adding that more women are being trafficked to the Middle East, West African countries and Europe for forced labor and commercial sex work.
In 2017, trafficking in Person Report identified that, the Government of Ghana does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The country has remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year.
If this does not shame Ghana to act, nothing will. So far, the NPP administration has shown that, it is willing to develop policies to protect the poor, known as pro poor policies. The in-trays of the President are full. But let us add and ask the listening President to prioritise the needs of trafficked children and women.
The issue of trafficking is not an isolated issue. It is about the rights of children and women. For Public Agenda, every child, every woman, every citizen trafficking will remain a blot on our national character; it affects our integrity and questions our moral right to claim that we are serious actors on the global stage.
As we celebrate International Day of Human Rights, we call on all national agencies dealing with the rights of vulnerable citizens, especially women and children to review their policies and ensure that they perform their roles as defenders of the poor. We call on CHRAJ, the Ministry of Gender, the Police Service, UN agencies like UNICEF, and indeed the Government of Ghana, to rise up to its promises to protect marginalised and vulnerable citizens.
We have no doubt that the President will act. We have no doubt that, these agencies will act. As we approach 2018, let us promise to protect the vulnerable and ensure that Ghanaians enjoy the rights bestowed on them by leading lights on human rights. One of these is to promise that no child or woman will be trafficked again. Public Agenda is watching.