Anglican Church to build Hope Community for rescued children

By Patience A. Gbeze, Accra

Accra, Aug. 19,
GNA – The Anglican Diocese of Accra, has pledged to build a Hope Community in
one of its rural communities to resettle rescued children from trafficking.

The Right
Reverend Daniel S.M. Torto, announced this at the launch of the campaign against
child trafficking in Ghana, collaboration between the Anglican Sunday School
Association, the Anglican Diocese of Accra and the United States Embassy.

He said the Hope
Community is where the rescued children would have a new home, get education
and be assisted to develop their God their God-given talents to become what
they are ordained by God to be.

The five-year
campaign collaboration would focus on awareness raising and information
campaigns through the use of symbols, and slogans; community mobilisation and
outreach educational programmes; capacity building of especially the Church
agents, institutional strengthening and networking.

Others include
individual and group empowerment to help in checking the abuse and supporting
and engaging stakeholders in legislative and pragmatic measures to address root
causes on a sustained basis.

Rt Rev Torto said
the Anglican Diocese of Accra in its quest to assist in eliminating the menace,
has adopted a three-tier theory of change to drive individual, societal and
systemic level of change.

It has also
adopted four prong strategies, namely, protection, education, livelihood and
advocacy in identifying the root causes of child trafficking.

He said the child
protection aspect would entail a preventive strategy of raising awareness for
behavioural change, a curative strategy of rescue, rehabilitation,
reintegration and monitoring of victims of child tracking in Ghana.

“The education
aspect involves providing affordable education for children from deprived
families and general educational support to children, while livelihood category
would focus on sustainable economic empowerment for deprived families as a way
of reducing poverty levels, which has been the main underlying factor for child
trafficking in Ghana, “he added.

The advocacy
aspect, he said, would focus on influencing national and international
policies, laws and programmes that protect children and also push for law
enforcement.

Rt Rev Torto,
commended the US for his bold step to lend the support of his office and
country to the laudable initiative, and called on other stakeholders to join
hands in fighting the crime.

Mr Robert
Jackson, US Ambassador said his country has signed a five- million dollar Child
Protection Compact Agreement with Ghana to combat child trafficking.

He said his
government also supported Ghana with GH₵ 32 million to get children out of
cocoa and mining sectors, and expressed commitment to assist in eradicating the
crime.

He recounted the
role United States religious leaders and groups played in the abolishing of
slavery some 300 years ago, adding: “Everybody has a role to play, every church
has a role to in the fight against human trafficking.”

Mr Jackson,
therefore, urged the public to report perpetrators of the crime to the Police
or Church Leaders for appropriate action to be taken.

Mrs Victoria
Natsu, Acting Executive Secretary, Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking
Secretariat, said the recently passed Human Trafficking Regulation (LI 2219) s
spells out the various penalties for trafficking in persons.

She said if
convicted for child trafficking or aiding the perpetration of the crime,
parents or guardians would be imprisoned for a period not less than 2,500
penalty units and not more than 5,000 penalty units or to both.

Mr Natsu said
though it is the State that has the ultimate responsibility for the protection
and welfare of children, families, communities, chiefs and the church must all
be a part of the agenda of protecting the rights of children.

She, therefore,
commended the Anglican Diocese of Accra for the bold initiative.

Oblempong Nii
Kojo Ababio V, Paramount Chief of Ngleshie Alata, James Town, in a speech read
on his behalf called on metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies and
security agencies to clamp down on perpetrators and punish them severely to
serve as deterrent to others.

On the
forthcoming elections, he said the country is once again confronted to elect a
leader to govern the country and appealed for peace before, during and after
the elections to further deepen the country’s democracy.

“I appealed to
the citizens to ensure that peace characterise this year’s elections,” he said
and commended the Anglican Church for the project.

GNA

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