General News of Saturday, 18 October 2008

Source: GNA

Child-related concerns on the ascendancy in Ghana

Accra, Oct. 18, GNA - Ghana Media Advocacy Programme (G-MAP), a civil society organisation, has expressed worry that a research it carried out in Ghana recently revealed that child-related concerns, including child labour, child trafficking, child labour, child abuse and child migration were on the ascendancy.

It said some children of school going age were taken from their homes in semi-urban and rural areas to urban centres with the promise of improving their conditions and that of their families. A statement signed by Abdul-Kudus Husein, Communication Executive Of G-MAP, made available to Ghana News Agency (GNA), said " These children can be seen on farmlands in the Northern Regions, seashores along the coastal belt, cocoa and the forest areas of the middle belt as well as homes of well-to-do families."

It stressed that along the country's coast in particular, children worked in hazardous and life-threatening conditions at the expense of their education for fisher folks who were desperate to make ends meet. The statement said the study indicated that 68.7 of Ghanaians did not know that engaging children as domestic helps was illegal. It said "Some people usually acting as agents pick children from their parents and guardians promising them education, heaven and earth. These children end up as domestic helps, prostitutes, street hawkers and labourers. This exposes them to all dangers including rape, diseases including sexually transmitted diseases, and accidents etc."

The statement said findings also revealed that ineffective child protection mechanisms resulted in high child mortality. It recalled that between 2001 and 2007, African leaders through the African Carter, pledged their support to help end all child-related abuses with a call on the international community to protect and maintain the welfare of children in Africa.

The statement said G-MAP believed that the challenges facing the continent's children with regard their survival, protection and development deserved the commitment and support of all sectors of the global society.

It urged "Political and social actors to ensure that every child in Africa is given a good start in life, grow in a friendly and nurturing environment of love, acceptance, peace, security and dignity." The statement said G-MAP would through communication continue to advocate the improvement of the welfare of children to ensure a bright future for them.