Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Otiko Djaba has outlined measures her ministry intends to adopt in dealing with child slavery in Ghana.
She says she will be working with the Education Ministry to establish what will be called Child Right Clubs in schools across the country.
More than 10,000 children between the ages of four and 12 are believed to be working as slaves on the Volta Lake, sold by their parents to slave masters.
Forty-one children were in 2015, rescued from the Lake Volta through the operations of Challenging Heights; a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in Winneba.
Some children saved from child slavery last year
The organisation cared for a total of 118 survivors of trafficking and provided comprehensive medical, psychological, physical, social and educational rehabilitation at its shelter during that period.
According to the organisation’s 2015 Annual Report, 74 children were reintegrated with their families after spending between three and nine months at the shelter depending on their needs, and continuous monitoring was provided to 82 children with staff of the NGO following up at home and in school and, providing educational support and materials.
Child trafficking and forced labour remains a significant problem in Ghana with both the total number and the proportion of children in child labour increasing in recent years.
Data from the Ghana Statistical Service indicate that 1.9 million children aged 5-17 are engaged in child labour with 1.2 million of the children engaged in hazardous labour.
Ghana was downgraded to the Tier 2 Watch-List status in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TiP) report as government efforts to tackle the problem of hundreds of thousands of people trapped in modern slavery; including an estimated 21,000 children trapped in hazardous labour on the Lake Volta were deemed insufficient.
The problem was recently highlighted in the Joy News documentary Slaves of the Volta.
Ms Otiko believes roping in the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to create human rights societies in the communities will help reverse the current trend.
“That would enable us to send the dialogue down to the grassroots for people to understand that child slavery is not something that we want to see as Ghanaians,” she said.
Watch the documentary below: