The U.S. Embassy in Accra and U.S. government’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons have announced the award of $5 million to the International Organization on Migration (IOM) and Free the Slaves (FTS), an international NGO working in Ghana, for activities that will support the recently signed U.S.-Ghana Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership.
The CPC Partnership is the first-ever jointly developed plan to address child sex trafficking and forced child labor within Ghana. It was signed by Ambassador to Ghana Gene Cretz, on June 23, 2015, at Flagstaff House. The signing demonstrated the personal commitment of President Mahama and the ministers of the participating ministries — Gender, Children and Social Protection; Justice; Interior; and Employment and Labor Relations — to enhancing the protection of Ghanaian children.
As CPC implementing partners, IOM and FTS will work collaboratively with the government of Ghana and other civil society organizations to combat forced child labor and child sex trafficking in the Volta, Central, and Greater Accra regions over the next four years.
IOM will work with the Ghanaian government to strengthen internal coordination and to establish protocols and referral mechanisms for victim identification and ensuring a timely and effective response to suspected cases of trafficking.
The Organization will also build the skills of social service workers, police, judges and prosecutors and support increased enforcement of child trafficking laws by providing logistical support to Ghanaian police and assisting victims and witnesses’ participation in criminal proceedings.
Support for improved care and services to child survivors rehabilitated in a government-sponsored shelter will also take place for 18 months. IOM’s funding for these projects totals $2.54 million.
FTS, in partnership with International Needs Ghana (INGH), will train community leaders to recognize child trafficking, take appropriate action and help reintegrate rescued children into communities; raise public awareness in selected communities; support livelihood alternatives for families of reintegrated children; convene two national symposia with Ghanaian NGO partner Right to Be Free; and provide staff training and sub-grants to selected NGOs for provision of aftercare services for child trafficking victims. FTS will receive $2.46 million in funding, combined with $53,044 in funds contributed from other sources.
Children who are vulnerable due to economic hardships in Ghana are sometimes subjected to forced child labor in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, pottering, quarrying, artisanal gold mining, and agriculture. Girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are also subjected to sex trafficking within Ghana, including in the three regions that are the focus of this Partnership: the Central, Volta, and Greater Accra regions.
“This Partnership represents the inaugural opportunity for the United States to work cooperatively with the Ghanaian ministries responsible for child protection and law enforcement and the civil society organizations that work diligently to end child trafficking in Ghana and build a better future for Ghana’s children.” said U.S. Ambassador at Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Susan Coppedge.