- Families of Ghana’s 25 trafficked children have been living with desperation and sorrow. But they finally have a cause to smile this week when migration organisations made it possible for them to reunite with their trafficked children.
A reunification ceremony was organised by Ghana’s Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs in collaboration with other partners, IOM in the Central Region of Ghana.
The reunification followed the rescue of the trafficked children in January. Since then they had been receiving comprehensive rehabilitation assistance, which included psychosocial counselling, medical assistance, and educational instruction at the Department of Social Welfare’s Rehabilitation Centre in Accra.
“The reunification took place on the International Day of the Family, so it had special significance for all those present. The day was used to highlight the importance of families, with a focus on fostering equality and bringing about a fuller sharing of domestic responsibilities,” Eric Peasah, IOM’s Counter Trafficking Field Manager, said.
Ghana’s Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Hajia Alima Mahama, exhorted parents to continue to take up their responsibility to ensure the growth and development of their children. She also urged communities to remain vigilant against the re-trafficking of children.
Mrs Mahawa believes children too have crucial role to play in arresting trafficking, which is why she asked them serve as ambassadors of anti-trafficking activities in their respective communities.
Since the project began in 2002, IOM has managed to rescue, rehabilitate, return, and reintegrate 612 trafficked children who had been working in hazardous conditions in fishing communities along Lake Volta.
The international migration body has focused on awareness-creation, sensitization, and consensus-building on the issue of child trafficking for labour exploitation in 25 fishing villages around Lake Volta. It also identified, registered, and interviewed the children and the fishermen.
The group said its next step is to assess the needs of parents to determine the level of micro-credit assistance needed to care for their children. It has been organising skills training workshops to identify potential in which parents can expand their existing trades or establish small-scale enterprises.
The US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration has provided financial assistance in the amount of US$ 1,280,000 to IOM to support the rescue, rehabilitation, return, and reintegration of the children, IOM said.
Private donors have contributed more than US $350,000 to provide additional support to the 612 already rescued children. This followed a high profile media campaign launched by a French Television, New York Times, and an entire Oprah Winfrey Show devoted to the plight of the fishing boys
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