The US government has awarded $5 million USD to anti-trafficking organizations in Ghana with a particular focus on child trafficking and forced child labor. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Free the Slaves were the two institutions awarded funding. Both are part of the Child Protection Compact Partnership signed between the US and Ghana this year, which outlines commitments from four Ghanaian ministries and the US government to work together to protect Ghanaian children.
Ghana News Agency reports that the funding will be used towards projects in three regions: the Volta, Central, and Greater Accra. Efforts are aimed at prevention of child trafficking and providing specialized care for victims, as well as increasing government capacity to investigate and prosecute traffickers.
IOM is working with the Ghana Police Service Anti-Human Trafficking Units, providing them with vehicles, equipment, and training for 500 officials from the Ghana Police and Immigration Services, Social Welfare Department, Labor Department, Attorney General’s Office, and the judiciary.
“The trainings focused on identification and screening of human trafficking victims, direct assistance, as well as investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of child trafficking cases. Free the Slaves, in collaboration with local NGO partners, including International Needs Ghana, Right to be Free, Challenging Heights, Don Bosco Child Protection Centre, and Partners in Community Development trained 114 traditional authorities and local government officials in identifying and appropriately responding to child trafficking.”
Economic hardships in Ghana often put children at risk of exploitation of human trafficking. Forced child labor has already been identified in the the Ghanaian “fishing industry, domestic service, street hawking, begging and quarrying, as well as the artisanal gold mining and agriculture sector.”