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On June 23, 2015, former Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama expressed his commitment to address child trafficking in Ghana and hosted the signing of the first Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Ghana at Flagstaff House in Accra.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Gene A. Cretz and then Ghanaian Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur joined President Mahama in expressing their support for this new Partnership and signed the documents on behalf of their respective governments.

The TIP Office represented the United States in developing and negotiating this plan with the active participation of four Ghanaian ministries:  the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection; the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department; the Ministry of the Interior; and the Ministry for Employment and Labor Relations.

The U.S.-Ghana CPC Partnership is a five-year plan aimed at bolstering efforts of the Government of Ghana and Ghanaian civil society to address child sex trafficking and forced child labor within Ghana.  The Partnership facilitated the award of $5 million in U.S. foreign assistance.

By promoting collaboration to build coordinated systems of justice and protection, the Partnership seeks to hold perpetrators of child sex and labor trafficking accountable under Ghanaian law, provide comprehensive services for child trafficking victims, and expand child trafficking prevention and awareness.

The TIP Office supports the CPC Partnership’s goals and objectives through continued engagement with the government of Ghana and funding for implementing partner organizations to work collaboratively with Ghanaian ministries responsible for combating child trafficking.  Implementing partners were selected following a competitive application process that closed on July 20, 2015.

Foreign Assistance Awards to Support the U.S.-Ghana CPC Partnership

In October 2015, the TIP Office announced the award of funds totaling $5 million to the International Organization on Migration and Free the Slaves, an international NGO, for activities in support of the U.S.-Ghana CPC Partnership.  These CPC implementing partners work collaboratively with the Ghanaian ministries and other civil society organizations to combat child trafficking in three regions (Volta, Central, and Greater Accra) until September 2019.

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Summary:  IOM is building the capacity of the Government of Ghana to effectively address child trafficking in coordination with the activities of the CPC Partnership.  Through this project IOM has helped the government establish: i) protocols for screening vulnerable children, ii) systematic referral mechanisms and protocols for timely interagency response to suspected cases, and iii) monitoring and evaluation tools to improve overall interagency coordination, situational analysis and monitoring, as well as response.  IOM trains Social Welfare staff, Ghana Police Service (GPS), Judges, the Attorney General, and Training Academies on child trafficking.  Furthermore, IOM is providing logistical support to GPS for operations involving child victims, will assist child trafficking witnesses participating in criminal proceedings, and will support direct care and services to child victims of trafficking in a government-sponsored shelter.  Learn more about IOM here .

Key Accomplishments to Date

  • IOM recently completed its portion of renovations to the government’s shelter for child trafficking victims. IOM also provided the Ghana Police Service Anti-Human Trafficking Units with six vehicles and equipment; organized 22 training programs for approximately 500 individuals from the Ghana police and immigration services, Attorney General’s prosecutors, the judiciary, and departments of social welfare and labor; obtained four ministers’ endorsements of and formally launched comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (referred to as SOPs) to Combat Human Trafficking (with an emphasis on child trafficking); and developed a government database and trained officials on its use.
  • As a result of these activities, trained government officials reported identifying and referring 112 victims for care; 14 perpetrators were arrested, three prosecuted, and two convicted; and 23 child victims were removed from situations of trafficking through operations.

Free the Slaves (FTS)

Summary:  This four-year project aims to free hundreds of children found in hot spots among Lake Volta’s fishing communities and the surrounding region and train more than 2,000 community members, traditional authorities, and government officials on ways to combat child trafficking sustainably.  In partnership with International Needs Ghana, FTS trains 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; and provide staff training and grants to NGOs that provide aftercare services for child trafficking victims. Learn more about Free the Slaves here .

Key Accomplishments to Date

  • Free the Slaves with its five NGO partners conducted a baseline prevalence study in 34 communities; reached more than 11,000 people through community engagement activities; worked with local communities and police to remove 183 children and 14 adults from trafficking situations and provided all these individuals with services. In addition, FTS has convened one of two planned national symposia on child trafficking.


Marking Progress in Ghana

Senior officials from the U.S. government and the Government of the Republic of Ghana met on October 25, 2017, to discuss progress in achieving the objectives of the U.S.-Ghana CPC Partnership during the first CPC Partnership High Level Consultation.

The Ghanaian government representatives, the Honorable Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection and Chair of the Human Trafficking Management Board; the Honorable Ignatius Bafuor Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labor Relations, the Deputy Minister of Justice Joseph Kpemka, and a representative from the Ministry of the Interior were joined by U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson and Kari Johnstone, Acting Director for the TIP Office, during the half-day discussion focused on specific objectives of the five-year Partnership.

“Our ministries are committed to investing Ghana’s resources to fulfill the objectives of the CPC Partnership to ensure Ghanaian children are not subjected to forced labor or sexual exploitation,” said Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Otiko Afisa Djaba.  “We are pleased to partner with Ghana and we offer our continuing support for this unique Partnership, the first of its kind in the world,” commented Acting Director Kari Johnstone.

Many children are vulnerable to human trafficking due to economic hardships in Ghana, and some are subjected to forced child labor within Ghana in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, quarrying, artisanal gold mining, and agriculture.  Ghanaian girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are also subjected to sex trafficking within Ghana.  A community-level baseline prevalence study conducted by Free the Slaves in 20 communities in 2016, found that 35 percent of households in the surveyed communities included a victim of trafficking or trafficking-like conditions.

All participants acknowledged the challenges, including Ghana’s low number of traffickers prosecuted and convicted under the Human Trafficking Act.  The Ghanaian government highlighted several recent successes in the fight against child trafficking:

  • Development and implementation of Ghana’s National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Human Trafficking in Ghana (NPA) and disbursement of 1.5 million Ghana cedis ($343,000) for trafficking victims’ services in 2017;
  • Government contributions to the renovation of the shelter for child trafficking victims, including a new perimeter fence, and a reliable water supply;
  • Government contributions of ¢80,000 for shelter operations and ¢11,000 for the care of children at three private shelters;
  • Increased efforts by the government, working cooperatively with anti-trafficking NGOs, to mount coordinated operations to remove 159 children from trafficking situations and provide them with assistance, arrest 79 suspected traffickers, and prosecute and convict two traffickers under the anti-trafficking act;
  • Endorsement and plans to implement the Standard Operating Procedures to Combat Human Trafficking in Ghana, which were developed through the interagency CPC Partnership Technical Working Group with support from IOM; and
  • A commitment to adopting systematic trafficking data collection to enhance the government’s ability to monitor and report anti-trafficking activities.

U.S. Department of State

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