WORLD DAY AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING

30th July of every year marks the UN Day against Human Trafficking. ConPHAT-Talitha Kum Ghana in collaboration with Street Children Project and the Anti-Trafficking Unit of Ghana Police Service has held a panel discussion to mark this important agenda and also create awareness. 

This day was marked with the theme:  Raise Your Voice and Stop Indifference against Human Trafficking. 

It's about human trafficking this time. Did you think slave trade was gone? There is a new form, may be worst than the first. This time victims include childre, youths, women and even men. This time it could be for sexual, economic, domestic servitude, organ sales, ritual, name it; all forms of exploitation using human beings. What is worst? Perpetrator may just be a trusted one; father, mother, aunties, uncles, family friends, neighbors, church member/ mosque member, acquaintance, strangers. The modern day slavery is more sophisticated. You can't suspect. You may be in before you realize. Be careful about flowery oversea job offers.But wait! Human trafficking is not just abroad. There is internal trafficking. Shine your eyes young people looking for well paying jobs. Shine your minds parents looking for a messiah to help you raise and train your children. You business man/woman who thinks your business talents is to use another human being to become the world's billionaire. That person you are holding in bondage was created in God's image and likeness like you. You have no right over his/her life and freedom. Whether poor or rich we all have intrinsic and inalienable rights to life and human dignity. When you enslave a person, you are a beast surely not human.Human trafficking must stop. Let the poor be. If you can't change his/her situation don't make it worse by trafficking 

By Sr. Olivia Umoh, Project Director Street Children Project 
17 July 2020

The UN has designated the 30th of July every year as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. It is a day to raise the consciousness and conscience of all persons globally to denounce human trafficking. This year, 2020 on this very day 30 July, Street Children Project in collaboration with ConPAHT-Talitha Kum Ghana and the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service Ashanti Region rose to the occasion with a panel discussion to expose the existence of human trafficking and raise public awareness to this menace.

The Panel discussion brought together 5 media outfits namely, the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi (CAK) Media, the Kessben TV, the UTV, the Otec FM and the Hello FM to cover the event and play their roles of disseminating the discussion to the general public. Present at the discussion were girls from the St. Louise Vocational Training Centre, a residential vocational training facility of the Street Children Project, staff of Street Children Project and some members of Talitha Kum Ghana. The number of participants was deliberately kept low as part of Covid-19 precautionary measure. The intended audience for this discussion was the general public who were hopefully to be reached through the different media platforms.

The discussion covers areas such as meaning, types and causes of human trafficking, the biblical injunctions and the stands of the Catholic Church around human trafficking, the reality of human trafficking in Ghana and a call for involvement of every human person in the fight to end human trafficking.

Four panelist drawn from the collaborating bodies namely, Sr. Olivia Umoh, the Director of Street Children Project and Coordinator of ConPAHT-Talitha Kum Ghana; Fr. Richard Opoku Acheampong, the Parish Priest of Corpus Christy Parish, Buokrom, Kumasi and the National President of the Justice, Peace Integrity of Creation (JPIC), Ghana, as well as the Assistant Coordinator of ConPAHT-Talitha Kum Ghana; Madam Regina Mintah, the Deputy Assistant Police (DSP) Officer, Anti-Trafficking Unit, Ashanti Region; and Sr. Elizabeth Adubafour, a Sister of St. Joseph of Cluny and a member of ConPAHT- Talitha Kum Ghana.

Besides the discussions on the four areas addressed by the panelist, the discussion was further enriched by the contributions and questions from members of the audience, the media and the staff of Street Children Project which made the discussion an interactive one. The session was brought to a close with a prayer followed by media interviews and a takeaway lunch for all participants.


What is Human Trafficking? 
First discourse from Sr. Olivia Umoh

Introduction

Human Trafficking is the act of intentionally forcing another person into slavery. It involves recruitment and transportation of a person/ persons within or across national borders for service. Human Trafficking is a process of forcefully engaging someone in labor or sex or any other gain which violates the right and dignity of the person and limits their freedom. Human trafficking is commonly identified with the use of violence, threat, deceit, abuse and fraud.

Human trafficking is exploitation of another person. It is using another person for economic gains. It is the worst form of human right violation and the worst form of human exploitation. Human trafficking is a modern day slavery. A more sophisticated and masked form of slavery.

For the understanding of the ordinary person, I simply define human trafficking as trading in humans, as you would with a commodity. Pope Francis refers to is as the commodification of the human person. Generally, we trade in goods. But in the case of human trafficking, some persons feel that the best goods to sale is another human being. Thus, human trafficking begins with the recruitment of a person or persons with flowery offers of good paying job(s). Often the job destination is away from the victim's home/ familiar environment (which makes the person vulnerable).

The traffickers generally offer to pay for the cost of the travel with the arrangement (disclosed or not disclosed) for the victim to pay back the cost on securing the job. Human trafficking is an organized crime, and the 3rd largest organized crime in the world. It is not one individual involved but a network of persons from the home, through the points of transit, up to the destination, there is a chain of agents working overtime to keep the chain unbroken.

What are people Trafficked for?

People are trafficked for several use, namely for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, domestic servitude, forced labor, hazardous forms of work in factories/mines/agriculture, fishing, begging, street vending, arm conflict, organ removal, etc. 





Causes of Human Trafficking 

 Globalization
 Unequal distribution of resources
 Human rights violation
 Corruption
 Bad Governance
 Weak rule of law
 War/civil /political unrest
 Desire to live and work abroad
 Poverty
 Unemployment
 Greed
 Family pressure/ Peer influence
 Lack of criminalization of traffickers

Who may be trafficked?

Men, women and children can be trafficked. But children and women are the most vulnerable and most trafficked.

Conclusion:

Over 27 million persons worldwide are victims of human trafficking.  Human trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Almost every country in the world is affected by human trafficking.

Ghana is a country of origin, transit and destination of human trafficking. This means that Ghanaian children, women and youths are trafficked to other countries like- Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Libya, South Africa, Nigeria, Mali etc. And persons from other African countries like Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cote D'Voir, etc are also trafficked into Ghana. Some of these are trafficked in, using Ghana as a rout to other countries while others are trafficked into Ghana as the final stop of their journey.

Let me conclude with the words of Pope Francis," human trafficking is a crime against humanity. It is a wound in the humanity of those who endure it and those who commit it." April 11, 2019.

A Call for support to end human trafficking

By Sr. Elizabeth Achiaa Adubofour, SJC

I will begin by explaining a little bit about what we stand for as members of Talitha Kum network. We are members of consecrated life, moved by our faith in God, respect for human dignity and freedom, who commit ourselves to end human trafficking. We are driven by our core values like the dignity of the human person, respect, love, compassion, human right and freedom.

As our theme for this year's celebration depicts, "raise your voice and stop Indifference against human trafficking". The general public have a role to play.

Let us begin with breaking the culture of silence. This means we all need to talk about the existence of human trafficking in our communities, countries and beyond. Let us not think that it is far from us. Human trafficking is right here with us.

 The Home should be the first place to talk about it among families, between parents and children. Parents and family members are the first protectors. May I take this opportunity to remind parents of their responsibility of providing basic needs for wards.
 Children and youngsters are forced into human trafficking because of expectations on them.
 Create awareness in schools, churches, workplaces, etc.
 Take the bold step to report human trafficking to the police.
 There is need for collaboration between, corporate bodies, Religious bodies, and the state to end human trafficking.
 We have a responsibility to frown at any form of human trafficking to support victims of human trafficking. Good citizens of our country should help rescue and provide support for victims of human trafficking
 The youth exposure to social media is a concern that parents and guardians need to watch  Young people have to be trained to value hard work and build their self determination to succeed in life through decent means.
 The general public need to take responsibility towards ending human trafficking by donating to support the cause of human trafficking.

In conclusion, I say that our various Religions and traditions frown against human trafficking. We are all to join hands and condemn this criminal act.