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General News of Friday, 3 April 2015

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Abuse of Ghanaians abroad: Ministry not in hurry to ban Visa 20

The Employment and Labour Relations Ministry has called for holistic discussions on calls to ban the issuance of Visa 20 to countries along the Mediterranean Sea also refer to as The Gulf, following reports of dehumanizing treatment meted out to Ghanaian domestic workers.

Deputy sector Minister, Baba Jamal however said Ghanaians must be cautious in weighing the options in order not to seal chances of persons who may secure genuine opportunities in countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.

“We have to weigh all these things, but if by the end of the day through discussions we all come to the [conclusion] that those visas are not helpful and we should ban them, that is ok,” Baba Jamal told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoh on Thursday.

The call to ban Visa 20 to The Gulf was resurrected following a harrowing and pathetic story of a 21-year-old lady who was lured into Saudi Arabia to seek greener pastures. She became pregnant after being raped by three men in the oil rich Arab kingdom.

Gender activist Gifty Anti who is also a partner at SEWA foundation who takes care of some of these girls told Joy News getting the embassies to stop issuing Visa 20 is the way to go.

She mentioned countries such as Nigeria and Egypt who have banned the issuance of these visas while plans are far advanced to ban them in Kenya. However, Baba Jamal wants Ghanaians to tread cautiously in that approach.

“We need to all look into this holistically and not rush into cancelling a particular visa and then you end up having another problem coming up or banning people from having genuine access to other opportunity in life,” he said.

There are people who travel to these countries carrying visas for different purposes but end up doing domestic work, he explained.

He said his office has some agencies accredited who follow “meticulous procedures” to recruit workers to The Gulf countries and whose activities are monitored by Ghana’s missions abroad. He stated that the problem mainly comes from the unregistered ones.

He called on the public to help fish out unregistered agencies recruiting people to work abroad by reporting them to the labour department or the police.