Six vehicles and operational equipment valued at $185,000 have been presented to the Ghana Police Service to help combat child trafficking in the country.
The vehicles and equipment that were presented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Ghana, included three pickup trucks, three buses, computers and accessories and cameras.
The items are to be used by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service to conduct investigations and rescue operations of trafficked children in the Volta, Central and Greater Accra regions where child trafficking is high in the country.
These were aquired with funding from the United States Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
The five-year project forms part of a $5 million child protection compact partnership signed between Ghana and the United States of America in June 2016.
At a ceremony to hand over the items, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante-Apeatu, said Ghana had been considered as a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking.
For two consecutive years, he said, the United States Department’s trafficking in persons report classified Ghana as a tier two watch list country. This meant that the country did not fully meet the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking in persons.
On the negative consequences of the poor ranking, he said it would among others affect the flow of aid and grants to Ghana.
Criminal gangs engaged in human trafficking, Mr Asante-Apeatu said, were consistently devising new and more sophisticated means to outwit law enforcers and abuse their victims and called for a joint effort by all stakeholders to counter the criminals.
He commended the IOM and the United States Embassy in Ghana for its continued support to the Ghana Police Service to win the fight against human trafficking.
The Chief of Mission at the IOM in Ghana, Mrs Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, said improving Ghana’s ranking and overall ability to address human trafficking depended on increased investigations, prosecution and conviction of the perpetrators behind the menace.
For his part, the American Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson, was hopeful the vehicles and operational equipment would complement other assistance provided by the American government so far.
The Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, said Ghana stood to lose $8 million in aid if the human trafficking menace was not addressed.