The Deputy Western Regional Minister,Mdam Gifty Eugenia Kusi on Thursday pledged government’s readiness to partner all stakeholders to create an enabling environment for children and 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 lamented that about 21% of children in the Western 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 sensitization durbar for stakeholders in the Western Region.
The durbar which dwelt on the theme,”Ghana @ 60: Any Future For Our Children and Youth? drew participants from 11 District Assemblies in the Western Region,,the Ghana Police Service,the Media,traditional rulers,CHRAJ,Teachers and School Children.
It was organized by Engage Now Africa,an international Non-Governmental Organization(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 die in the process which was a waste of the human capital to national development.
Madam Kusi observed that children and the youth have undergone all forms of abuse and urged the police to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of child abuse such as human trafficking and child labour.
She entreated parents who sell their children into servitude and bondage,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 principles of sustainability in education,self-support assistance,clean water,medical services,orphan support and eradication of modern slavery.
He observed that if every child was given the right 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 governmnet to eliminate forced labour in fishing and farming,child prostitution and sex tourism,head portage or “kayaye”,forced or child marriage and child domestic work.
Touching on the state of children in the Western Regional, the Regional Director of Social Welfare,Ms.Deborah Kwabeah lamented that child trafficking was a major challenge confronting the Region.
She revealed that the department was constrained in terms of shelther for victims of child abuse as they were usually housed for more than two weeks before they got in touch with their parents adding that a shelter to accommodate such victims was under construction in Takoradi.
The Director charged the security agencies to be alert in tracking down the perpetrators of child trafficking who have become sophisticated in their modus operandi.
Miss Kwabea urged parents to be responsible in the development of their children by making provisions for them.
The western Regional Police Commander,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 and pledged its support to the NGO to fight the canker.
The Omanhene of Essikado traditional area,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 sensitize their communities on how to eliminate child abuse and charged government to release dedicated funds to the social welfare and other bodies which deal with issues affecting children.