Deputy Majority Leader of the Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo, has charged African Parliaments to enact legislations to prevent and punish perpetrators engaged in that act of "illegality".

Further to that, the Dome-Kwabenya MP is advocating African countries to ratify and accede to all Protocol and Treaties that seek to prevent and combat human trafficking on the continent.

Miss Safo also wants the existing national laws on labour relations strengthened as well as enforcement of same, to make it difficult for persons involved in the business of human trafficking to have their way out.

"Ultimately, all African Parliaments after promulgating anti trafficking laws must set up effective mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the implementation of such regulations,",  she noted.

Adwoa Safo, who is also the Minister of State in Charge of Public Procurement, made these statements at the 49th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, African Chapter in Gaborone, Botswana.

She spoke on the topic “Parliamentary Agenda for combating human trafficking and modern day slavery in Africa and the Promotion of Human Rights”.

The 10-day event which commenced from August 13 to 22, 2018, brought together Parliamentarians from the Commonwealth African Countries and their development partners to discuss how they could work together to end human trafficking, which is devastating lives especially children, and destroying families.

Commenting further, Adwoa Safo urged governments to see human trafficking as a human rights issue which must be tackled as such, pointing to the fact that 2.5 million persons are trafficked worldwide each year.

Adwoa Safo Commonwealth

According to global report on Trafficking in Persons, sexual exploitation which is the most common form of trafficking constitutes 79%. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Forced labour, on the other hand constitutes 18% while 20% of all trafficking victims are children, she added.

The situation, she noted, is not the best and called on the international, regional and sub regional bodies to help combat it.

Combating trafficking

The MP acknowledged some of the measures that have been put in place to combat human trafficking on the African continent.

These include the Khartoum Declaration on AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development.

In Ghana for example, there also exists the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) which made the act of human trafficking an offense punishable to a minimum of 5 years’ imprisonment.

The Act, according to Ms. Safo, was amended in 2009 to align its definition of human trafficking with the 2000 United Nations TIP Protocol. There also exists the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit to investigate and prosecute human trafficking and related offenses.

The Ministry of Employment & Labour Relations of Ghana, she added, also investigates and recommends prosecution of licensed recruitment agencies suspected of engaging in human trafficking.

“Many times, the licenses of these recruitment agencies if found guilty are revoked. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is also active in combating this menace and offers shelter and support services to victims of such crimes. With the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy in Ghana, many of our children are given the opportunity to be in the classroom rather than fall victim to human trafficking. Lack of education is a major cause", she stated.