Regional News of Friday, 11 October 2013
Source: Graphic Online
The Pamela Bridgewater Project, in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, has organised two separate outreach programmes in Kumasi and Accra to educate head porters (kayayei) on the dangers of child trafficking. The need to create awareness among the head porters on the phenomenon has become imperative due to disturbing reports the two organisations have been receiving on the trafficking of minors from the north to the south to work under degrading conditions.
Held in Kumasi and Accra, the programmes brought together a number of head porters who were also feted by the Pamela Bridgewater Project.
At the Fredko FD Centre at the Kejetia lorry terminal in Kumasi, Ms Alfredtina A. Asiamah of the Ashanti Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service advised head porters to be careful in accepting proposals from strangers to work in homes and other places.
“Do not follow people you do not know to their houses, no matter the mouthwatering deals they offer you,” she said, adding that “they will enslave and abuse you.”
She encouraged the young girls to report all abuse meted out to them to the police, stressing that “our doors are always opened for you.”
Mrs Asiamah showed the head porters pictures depicting the sufferings of girls who had been trafficked in the past, and urged them to help the police expose persons who were into human trafficking.
Addressing the programme in Accra, an official of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit at the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) headquarters, Mr Ben Kluffio, urged the head porters, who gathered at the Frankies Hotel in Nima, to report the activities of persons suspected to be human traffickers to the police.
He said it was worrying to see minors being subjected to dehumanising conditions after they had been trafficked to Accra and other cities, being deceived of getting lucrative employment in the process.
He appealed to community leaders in the north to join hands with the police and other agencies to stop the activities of persons who were “abusing the human dignity of these children, the future leaders of the country.”
Mr Kluffio also called on the Ghana Private Road Transports Union (GPRTU) and other transport unions to help the police in their efforts to curb the activities of child traffickers in the country.
He recalled how the intervention of the police led to the arrest of some child traffickers who were trafficking 25 minors from the north to Accra at Nsawam, and said “a lot has to be done by our transport unions to help the security agencies to check child trafficking.”
The Communication Director of the Kunata Voluntary Organisation, the NGO that manages the Bridgewater Project, Mr Bawa Bulmuo, said a special hotline would be created at the Fredko Office and the Kejetia centers in Kumasi for head porters to call and report cases of abuse. Counselors will also respond promptly to distress calls.