The Research and Counseling Foundation for African Migrants, (RECFAM), a non-governmental organization fighting child trafficking in the sub-region has given educational scholarships to 31 trafficked children from the Zabzugu and Tatale-Sanguli districts in the Northern Region.
Mr Mbinglo Alfred Nsodu, Executive Director of RECFAM, who paid the school fees and gave some stipends to the children on Friday in their communities, said the support was to enable them to be properly reintegrated into their societies and to develop their skills for the future.
He advised them to be assertive and resist any attempt to re-traffic them, stressing that child trafficking was an abominable act punishable by law.
Mr Nsodu, who is also the Coordinator of the West Africa Network, said child trafficking was very common in the area because of the excruciating poverty there; noting that most of the cases that had been handled by his outfit were perpetrated with the connivance of parents of the trafficked children.
He said the NGO was aimed at protecting children to ensure their full development, noting that poor social status in communities; illiteracy and ignorance were likely causes of child trafficking.
He urged the country to stand up against child traffickers and severely punish offenders to serve as deterrent to others.
He said there was the need for the government to sensitise communities that it was illegal to traffic human beings, adding, “It will surprise you that in some cases parents receive only GH₵1.00 and give out their children even without knowing the trafficker.”
The Coordinator said most Ghanaian children were mostly trafficked to Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, explaining that some children from those countries were also being trafficked to Ghana.
Mr Nsodu said before RECFAM would re-integrate a child to his/her community, it had to resource the parents with capital to enable them to cater for their wards’ needs when the NGO eventually withdraws its support.
He indicated that some Ghanaian nationals facing immigration problems abroad were also being supported by RECFAM, while assisting some farming communities with irrigation facilities to improve their crop yield.
Mr Umar Seidu Iddrisu, Assistant Director for Department of Community Development and Social Welfare said the department had been working with the NGO for over two years in the area, explaining that some of the rescued children were given training skills to make them employable.
He urged the government to complement the activities of the NGO to reduce the trend of child trafficking; adding that “the department needs to be resourced in logistics and capacity building.”
Mr Iddrisu explained that because of the proximity of the Nimboya District to the Togo boarder, child trafficking was very common.
Master Jonas Mawa, a fifteen-year-old boy who was rescued from Nigeria pledged to fulfill his dream of becoming a medical doctor.