The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, says the twenty-one children who were repatriated from South Africa last December, will be reunited with their families soon.
The Ghana High Commission in Pretoria with support from the International Organization for Migration in December repatriated the children, after they were abandoned in South Africa by a soccer agent.
This followed a request to the Ministry and the National Security Coordinator from the Ghana High Commission in Pretoria, to assist in handling a suspected trafficking scheme involving the 21 minors.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Secretariat, Madam Victoria Natsu, narrated that “while in South Africa, the children were made to play a few trial matches. The trafficker then returned to Ghana under the pretext of recruiting more of the children but was never seen again.”
After their visas expired, the South African Department of Social Development rescued the children and sent them to a shelter in Pretoria.
The trafficked children were brought back to Ghana on 15th of December, 2015.
She indicated that, since their arrival, they have been kept in a shelter where they are being “taken through various rehabilitation processes”.
She explained that “officers of the Shelter are helping them with their recovery from the trauma suffered in South Africa. They are now ready to be reunited with their parents.”
Madam Victoria Natsu also stated that from investigations conducted, the trafficked children, who were between the ages of 9 and 16, also came from different villages in Sefwi in the Western Region.
The trafficker deceived parents of the victims into believing that they were going to be trained in South Africa and sent to Europe, Sweden and America to play football. The chiefs of the villages at a durbar rewarded the trafficker with a parcel of land to set up a football academy.
Madam Natsu explained that following these findings “the Department of Social Development would do follow-up visits to the communities affected to meet with the chiefs, opinion leaders and the parents for sensitization and to empower them to be able to identify potential traffickers.”
The reintegration of the children will be the responsibility of the District Social Development Officers in those districts.
She highlighted that, the Human Trafficking Legislative Instrument which has been passed, will aid implementing partners in the effective implementation of the Human Trafficking Act.
She urged the general public to be on the lookout for such scammers, and also cautioned the media to be wary of the types of adverts they put up since “the traffickers used the press to advertise the recruitment exercise.”
Madam Victoria Natsu finally advised all who seek to travel to do so legally.
By: Magdalene Teiko Larnyoh/citifmonline.com/Ghana