Bright Appiah is the Executive Director of Child Rights International

Executive Director for Child Rights International, Bright Appiah, says a multi-faceted approach needs to be adopted to combat child trafficking and other worst forms of child labour in the country.

His call follows a JoyNews investigation in which children are hired for as little as GH¢800 to work on cocoa farms in parts of the country.

Due to its exploitative nature, Bright Appiah wants pragmatic steps to be taken to rescue children and address the menace.

He believes a properly structured system can be instituted to deal with the situation head-on.

“I personally feel that in dealing with this, we need to have a structure in handling some of these things because the issues of trafficking, if you look at the various indicators that come out in terms of what would qualify to be trafficking issue, it’s a bit deep and very complex so the calculation of it is very important.”

“The emphasis should be placed on a sustainability programme that is going on and the efforts that are being made to rescue some of these children and the things that the Ministry and other cocoa-buying companies are doing in these various communities,” he said in an interview on the AM Show on Tuesday.

There have also been calls for the government to equip the security agencies to effectively fight trafficking of children.

An anti-human organisation, Caritas Ghana, has noted that if steps are not taken to end the use of children in hard labour, the problem would continue to persist due to poor enforcement of laws.

Bright Appiah indicated that arresting persons who hire out children alone, will not be enough in eradicating the problem, as it cannot stop other perpetrators of the act from engaging in it.

According to him, “just to lay emphasis on arrest is not enough to describe the effort that you put in; it’s a supply chain activity so you need to also have a clear understanding of how the dynamics are, to be able to even do the arrest.”

Meanwhile, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has arrested eight persons in connection with the use of children as labour on cocoa farms in Elluokrom, a community in the Western North region.

Head of Public Relations at COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo, has warned that they will deal ruthlessly with persons that engage children to work on cocoa farms.

“We have already reported the situation as unearthed in the documentary to the Police and some arrests have already been effected in Ashanti and Western North regions. All suspects and persons of interest are currently going through the legal process.”

“We shall, similarly, alert the Police on any other case related to child labour which comes to our attention for the persons involved to be apprehended and prosecuted,” he assured.

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