Education

Ashanti Region: Stakeholders review Child Trafficking and Exploitation protocols

Ashanti Region: Stakeholders review Child Trafficking and Exploitation protocols

The Ashanti Regional Department of Children under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has collaboratively joined hands with various stakeholders, who play vital roles in the lives of children and other security services to review the ratification of the optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

During the extended regional child protection committee meeting that was held at the Regional Health Directorate in Kumasi in the Ashanti region, the sale of Children, Child prostitution and Child pornography was critically discussed in order to review the ratification of the optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the Ghanaian child. The Regional Director of the Children Department, Mr Stephen Ofosu gave a welcome address and outlined the purposes of the meeting. The Committee which is made up of child protection stakeholders from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Development Partners, Faith Base Organizations (FBOs), traditional authorities and the media were all present to make the meeting a success not forgetting the various students from the Junior High and Senior High School.

*The rep of Ashanti regional minister’s madam Emelda called on Stakeholders to make child protection a priority to avoid abuses and reduce violence against children, she urged the ministry of Gender and department of children to work hard to sign the optional protocol

In the first presentation, Dr Slyvester Kye Gyamfi explained that, the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography constitute a breach of the fundamental rights of children. They also constitute breaches of the laws of Ghana and lead to child right infractions. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these acts are prevalent in the country and thus calls for efforts from government, civil societies, and families to address them. A study by National Centre for Missing and Exploited in 2021 indicates that, more than 13,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse were reportedly accessed or uploaded from Ghana in 2020. It shows an alarming increase in the figure since 2016 which was reported as 750. There are also reported cases of child prostitution in various parts of the country.

According to the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) Round 7, one in every three children are engaged in child labour, three in every four children are also multi-dimensionally poor whiles child maintenance cases continue to be the most common child abuse cases recorded in the country. Ghana thus stands at the risk of recording higher prevalence rates in the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography if efforts are not strengthened to address the contributing factors.

Mr Christopher Lartey a principal programs officer also made presentation on Child Protection in Emergency” where he made mention of all efforts to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence against children in the aftermath of a disaster. It includes, as a first step, guaranteeing that children receive all the necessary humanitarian assistance that is required for their safety and wellbeing. Emergencies are situations or events that threaten the health, safety, security, or wellbeing of a community and especially of children. They demand immediate and urgent action, especially during the first few hours of a disaster. Emergencies often escalate into full-fledged humanitarian situations if we do not respond to them in a timely and effective manner. They can be caused by either natural or man-made hazards. In the case of the Pacific region, tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes, floods, and other natural hazards are the primary cause of emergencies.

During the program, Ms Susana Dery who is the Regional DOVVSU Coordinator, advised all students in Ghana to refrain from taking and sharing explicit pictures and videos and even added that, “Every student should desist from taking and sharing nude pictures and videos which is also a crime against the law in Ghana and by this means, many boys and men have taken such opportunities to blackmail their partners with such nudity.”

In addition, Supt. Regina E. Mintah who is with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in the Ashanti region also cautioned parents on taxi drivers who are tasked to send their wards to School. She stressed that, “Most of these children are exploited on the blind side of the parents and further added that, “Due to the advancement of technology, child prostitution is not only by the roadside but is on the mobile phone, where some children can now access to a website for a call-up.” She therefore advised all parents to be vigilant.

Finally, the Programs Officer of the Department of Children, Mr Jackson Frimpong-Manso stood on behalf of the regional department of Children under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to advise parents and the whole Ghanaian communities to join hands in fighting these issues because it’s a shared responsibility. He added that, ” the ministry alone can’t handle such situations and we must come together to solve these menace.

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