Press Statement: Gender Ministry To Fight Child Trafficking With Birth Certificates

Friday, April 27, 2018

On the launch of the Standard Operating Procedures(SOP) to combat child trafficking in Ghana, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection remarked on the need to fight child trafficking with birth certificates.

Child trafficking is a violation of the right of a child. Primarily, child trafficking in Ghana is for the purposes of hazardous child labour activities.

According to thesixth Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 6), there are more than 8.6 million children between the ages of five and 17 in Ghana. Over 1.8 million (21.8 per cent) of them are engaged in child labour and over 1.2 million (14.2 per cent) are engaged in hazardous child labour.

The Ministry’s statement of “aiming at ensuring that every Ghanaian child gets a birth certificate as part of measures to combat child trafficking in the country” does not reflect and take into cognizant the existing challenges and weaknesses of the birth certification system in Ghana

The duplication and falsification of birth certificates due to corruption and poor record keeping, will render efforts by the ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Local Government and the Births and Deaths Registry, in finding a lasting solution in combating child trafficking ineffective.

It is worthy to note that, Ghana’s statement at the 69th Session of the Committee of Rights of the Child in 2015, categorically stated Ghana’s improvement in birth registration. It also stated of Ghana’s improvement from 17% in 2002 to 66% in 2013. This was as a result of measures such as free registration of new born babies and a draft bill on birth registration.

In lieu of the above, the Ministry’s call for an increase in the registration of newly born babies is an existing measure which has not necessarily dealt with the menace of child trafficking.

Moreover, child trafficking is perpetuated by fraudulent recruitment agencies, who prey on the ignorance of parents and guardians to traffic their children to the Middle East.


Recommendation:


Eban Centre for Human Trafficking Studies is calling on the government and Stakeholders to take a comprehensive approach in tackling child trafficking in Ghana. We recommend the following;

1. Strengthening Child Protection Systems


Every Child protection system should reflect the different traditions, cultures, values and resources of beneficiaries if it is to work. Effective Child Protection depends on appropriate policies, legislation and regulations; well-defined structures and functions, and adequate capacities; supportive social norms; effective promotion, prevention and response actions; high quality evidence and data for decision-making; and efficient fiscal management and sufficient resource allocation.

Government should ensure the implementation of child protection policies such as, the child and family welfare policy and the Justice for Children Policy. These would promote the wellbeing of children, prevent abuse, protect children from harm and promotes justice for children.

2. Complicity and Corruption


The duplication and falsification of birth certificates due to corruption and poor record keeping is rendering the fight against child trafficking less effective. Birth registration, which is an approach to identity local populations and to prevent child trafficking is defeated if, the system is fraught with corruption and complicity.
Government officials culpable for using their positions to facilitate or commit trafficking crimes for their own financial gain or even exploit victims themselves should be prosecuted.

3. Streamlining Travel Recruitment Agencies


Cross country trafficking or illegal migrant smuggling is connected with fraudulent recruitment agencies. Government should streamline the activities of travel recruitment agencies and also ensure the enforcement of laws regulating foreign labor recruiters and holding them civilly and criminally liable for fraudulent recruiting

4. Interagency Coordination and Prosecution


There is the need to improve existinginteragency coordination of anti-trafficking efforts. Also, we call on government to increase the prosecution of child traffickers and improve the quality of protection services for child victims.


Conclusion


Birth registration, which is an approach to identity local populations and to prevent child trafficking is defeated if, the system is fraught with corruption and complicity.


-Signed-
Executive Director
Eban Centre for Human Trafficking Studies (ECHTS)