General News of Friday, 21 July 2017
The Central Regional Commander of the Ghana Immigration Service, Chief Superintendent Francis Palmadeti, has argued that the recent ban on recruiting people to the Gulf Region is an ineffective way of fighting human trafficking in Ghana.
He has opined that the move amounts to “treading on constitutional and human rights landmines because our constitution guarantees freedom of movement, and it is difficult to place a ban on people especially when they are qualified to travel, they are of age and they are travelling with an adult”.
“Most countries would warn their nationals about the dangers in certain countries and the fact that it will be extremely difficult to come to their aid when they are in trouble: you can only advise”, he added.
Chief Superintendent Palmdeti who was speaking exclusively to Citi News rather called for urgent extradition agreements on prosecuting people who commit human trafficking offences between Ghana and her Gulf Region stakeholders in the fight against trafficking.
In late May this year, government announced it has suspended recruitment of Ghanaians for domestic work in the Gulf countries as a way of curbing the negative issues associated with the practice, after some of the agents were arrested.
However, the Central Regional Commander has the view that the key among all the elements of human trafficking offences is exploitation and argued that establishing the element of exploitation is vital in prosecuting perpetrators.
He posits signing extradition agreements with those countries could help in establishing exploitation and all other elements for effective prosecuting in human trafficking cases.
“For example, Ghana and Qatar could sign a bilateral agreement on extradition, so when a crime is committed in Ghana by someone from Qatar, we could try the person here or Qatar could call the person to be tried in Qatar, and the reverse is possible, but what will happen is all the evidence would be put together”, he cited.
Such a collaboration, he indicates, will facilitate the fight, especially when the issue has become a massive cross-border challenge.
Shelters for Victims
Chief Superintendent Palmdeti has also decried the unavailability of facilities for victims of human trafficking, deported Ghanaians and other distressed people, suggesting there is the need for such structures in the country to serve multi-purpose needs.
Making reference to recent media reports on complaints by some trafficked ladies who were rescued and kept at a private shelter at Awutu Bireku in the Central Region, he suggested there should be a combined project by the Immigration Service, Refugee Board, National Disaster Management Authority and others to build a shelter each in every Region to serve as a temporary abode for distressed people that fall under the agencies involved.
Plans for Central Region
The Commander, who got posted to the Region in May 2017, has revealed the Immigration Service will, in the coming days, roll out diverse programmes to shape its work in the Region.
He noted the service has already begun a vigorous sensitization programme on human trafficking within the Region and across it, mostly on trafficking of children in the fishing and farming communities.
With fisher folks along the Region’s coast as key stakeholders in the sensitisation, Chief Superintendent Palmdeti noted the campaign has started to yield results.