Fijai (W/R), May 19, GNA – The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Madam Gifty Eugenia Kusi on Thursday pledged government’s readiness to partner stakeholders to create an enabling environment for the youth, by eliminating all forms of child abuse militating against their well-being.
She explained that social interventions such as the Youth Employment Module, School Feeding Programme and free Senior High School policy, were geared towards the security, freedom and development of the youth.
She expressed dissatisfaction that about 21 per cent of children in the Region were victims of child abuse due to the upsurge in child labour, child prostitution and child trafficking which she attributed to the oil find and its attendant influx of migrants.
Madam Kusi was delivering the keynote address at an education and sensitisation durbar for stakeholders in the Region.
The durbar dwelt on the theme: “Ghana @ 60: Any Future For Our Children and Youth?’
It drew participants from 11 District Assemblies in the Region, Ghana Police Service, the Media, traditional rulers, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, teachers and students.
It was organised by Engage Now Africa, an international NGO whose focus is to end poverty in Africa.
The Minister noted that most of the youth were trafficked to foreign countries under the pretext of securing greener pastures but often died in the process, which was a waste of human capital to national development.
Madam Kusi observed that children and the youth had undergone all forms of abuse and urged the police to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of the act, as well as human trafficking and child labour.
She entreated parents who sell their children into servitude to desist from the practice.
A manual dubbed: ‘Saving Our Pearls of the Future which espouses the need to end modern slavery was launched by the Minister.
The Director of the NGO, Mr David Kofi Awusi said it was the avowed commitment of the NGO to engage and strengthen individuals, families and communities to end poverty by instilling hope and teaching the principles of sustainability in education, self-support assistance, clean water, medical services, orphan support and eradication of modern slavery in them.
He observed that if every child was given the right to education, he/she could rise up to a certain height and become an important personality in future to contribute meaningfully to society.
Mr Awusi said it was the goal of the NGO to secure and protect the future of children to be confident and self-assertive in life.
In a-five-point communique, he tasked government to eliminate forced labour in fishing and farming, child prostitution and sex tourism, head portage or forced child marriage and child domestic work.
Touching on the state of children in the Region, the Regional Director of Social Welfare, Ms Deborah Kwabeah lamented that child trafficking was a major challenge confronting the area.
She revealed that the Department was constrained in terms of shelter for victims of child abuse as they were usually housed for more than two weeks before they got in touch with their parents.
Ms Kwabeah said a shelter to accommodate such victims was under construction in Takoradi.
She charged the security agencies to be alert in tracking down the perpetrators of child trafficking who had become sophisticated in their modus operandi.
The Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner Of Police (DCOP) Kwasi Mensah said the Anti-human Trafficking unit of the service was bent on combating the menace and commended the NGO for such initiatives.
He therefore directed the police force in the Region to deal decisively with modern slavery such as trafficking and prosecute offenders.
DCOP Mensah pledged his support to the NGO to fight the canker.
The Omanhene of Essikado, Nana Kobina Nketiah, who chaired the durbar, charged traditional authorities to rise up to the occasion and fight all forms of child abuse.
He asked participants to sensitise their communities on how to eliminate child abuse and charged government to release funds to the social welfare and other bodies which dealt with issues affecting children. GNA