The Human Trafficking Secretariat (HTS) under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has organized a Sensitization programme to raise awareness of the dangers of human trafficking, forced labour and ethical recruitment for Travel and Tour Operators and Tourism Agencies on Tuesday 23rd May 2023.
The sensitization programme sought to raise awareness on the nature, causes and consequences of Human Trafficking (HT), Irregular Migration and Child Abuse in the tourism sector.
It was also to equip the agencies with the knowledge and skills to recognize the indicators of HT in order to respond appropriately.
In a welcome address read on behalf of the Sector Minister for MoGCSP – Madam Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu – the Deputy Minister, Madam Francisca Oteng Mensah said Ghana is not exempted from human trafficking issues since it is a global problem that affects millions of people.
Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah indicated that Tourism, though being an important drive to economic growth in the country, can also impact HT activities if not well regulated.
“Tourism can serve as a cover for traffickers to operate discreetly, targeting vulnerable individuals who are in a vicious cycle of exploitation, suffering, abuse and trauma”, she noted.
She charged participants to intensify advocacy and support the law enforcement agencies to punish human trafficking offenders in order to protect the right of the victims.
The Deputy Minister made a call for all to join hands and work towards a brighter future for the country.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Director, Dr. Afisah Zakariah, the Head of the Human Trafficking Secretariat, Madam Abena Annobea Asare expressed worry over the tourism industry which has become a platform for trafficking and exploiting the vulnerable; hence the need to deepen the understanding and foster a sense of responsibility among all stakeholders.
She tasked stakeholders to help pave the way for a Ghana where human rights and tourism flourish.
A Representative from the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, Dr. Kwesi Eyison on behalf of the President of the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), implored MoGCSP to support businesses that prioritize human rights and social welfare in the Tourism Industry.
The Sensitization programme was held in collaboration with the Welfare of Children and Youth Association (an NGO) under the Expertise France Project funded by the European Union.
Present at the programme were the AHSTIP GIS, Superintendent Alberta Ankrah, the Associate Professor of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management UCC, Prof. Eunice Fay Amissah, Project Manager of Expertise France, Mr Serge Akpalou, and EOCO, S.O Dominic Mensah.