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General News of Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

US baits Ghana with US$650m aid to end child trafficking

The government of the United States of America (USA) is asking Ghana to end modern day slavery, child trafficking and child labour as a prerequisite to accessing a US$650 million grant that will be used to support economic development.

The elimination of the three human rights related issues is needed to ensure that Ghana is not downgraded to tier three on the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the US.

The country was downgraded to tier two some two years ago and has since remained on that score after checks revealed that the country remained a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children who are subjected to forced and sex trafficking.

The Minister for interior, Mr Ambrose Derry, who disclosed this to the Graphic Business, said government had, therefore, put in place measures to ensure that Ghana is not downgraded, which will make it lose out on the US$650 million.

As part of the measures, he said the government, through the Ministry of Finance, will, for the first time, provide funding for the Human Trafficking Fund in the 2017 budget, due to be read on March 2.

“There is a fund for human trafficking, which is under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection but has never been financed. The Finance Minister has, however, assured me that he will allocate some resources to it in this year’s budget,” he said.

Background

According to both the 2014 and 2015 TIP reports issued by the US, Ghana remained a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children who are subjected to forced and sex trafficking.

The report observed that the exploitation of Ghanaians, especially children, within the country was more prevalent than the transnational trafficking of foreign nationals.

The country was, therefore, placed on the tier two watch list by the US because it did not demonstrate prosecution efforts or assistance to victims.

This was because there were no trafficking convictions in 2015 while the number of victims identified also decreased.

2016 assessment underway

The Ministers Interior pointed out that the 2016 assessment was underway and the US Ambassador to Ghana had indicated to the government that it would lose out on the US$650 million aid if it is classified under tier two for the third year running

As the Head of the inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Trafficking, Mr Derry said, the committee had sought to convince the US government with some immediate measures within the first few days in office.

“In January, this year, we have had two people convicted for human trafficking and have also allocated vehicles to the police unit of trafficking to help in their work,” he said.