Mrs Samira Bawumia, the Second Lady, has called for a collective approach in the fight to end modern day slavery, saying government alone cannot do it. "We need to fight child trafficking, we must identify the source of this canker, work towards it and collectively end it.
''Eliminating Child trafficking is a collective responsibility. Dealing with the canker will enhance the dignity of children and empower them for the country's progress," Mrs Bawumia said at the official launch of the Coalition of NGOs against Child Trafficking (CNACT) in Accra on Wednesday.
She expressed worry about how thousands of children were enslaved in the fishing and cocoa industries and were been denied rest, education, healthcare and relaxation. Mrs Bawumia, therefore, entreated members of CNACT to work together to ensure their goals, mission and vision are achieved for children to thrive and enjoy freedom.
She pledged her support to help end the suffering of trafficked children.
Mr Leonard Kobina Ackon, an Executive Member of CNACT, explained that, as a child focused transparent and accountable organization, CNACT sought to end child trafficking in its various forms through networking, supporting prosecution, building capacity, public education and advocacy in partnership with state and non-state actors.
He said it was the vision of CNACT to see a world free from child trafficking where children were protected and can fully develop their potential. Mr Kobina Ackon said with a membership of about 23 bodies, CNACT would engage in advocacy and capacity building activities that would propel prevention, partnership, protection and prosecution in the fight against child trafficking.
"Across Ghana, 1.2 million children, 14.2 per cent of all Ghanaian children, are engaged in hazardous forms of child labour. "Some children have also been trafficked into domestic servitude and early and forced marriages in parts of our country," he said.
Madam Victoria Natsu, the Director of Anti Human Trafficking Secretariat at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said trafficking steals the human rights, dignity and pride of the individual and the Ministry was working to address the challenge.
Madam Jayne Howell, the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of United States of America, encouraged members of CNACT to use the coalition as a means of discussing best practices and a mechanism to collaborate with the Ghanaian government to give meaning to partnership in addressing the problem.
Reverened Dr Joyce Aryee, the Founder of Salt and Light Ministries, called for extensive education and partnership among stakeholders through pragmatic policies and measures to help save the children of Ghana.
Mr David Ewusi, a Founding Member of CNACT, said it was imperative for collective and synergic approaches to be developed to address the problem. Formed in June 2017, it has United Nations International children's and Emergency Fund and International Organization for Migration as their partners.
Membership of CNACT include, International Justice Mission, Challenging Heights, Engage Now Africa, Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Solidaridad, SNV, Free the Slaves, USAID-SFMP, Abibiman Foundation, International Cocoa Foundation, Centre for Intiative Against Human Trafficking among others.
By Elsie Appiah-Osei/Doris Amenyo, GNA