The Communications Officer for Terre des Hommes Foundation, Madam Emilie A. Tchotchovi Samboe has called on the government of Ghana and other stakeholders to collaborate and enforce the Child Protection Act to protect and end child migration along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor.
The Child Protection Act, 1998 (ACT 560), according to Madam Samboe has not been enforced to its fullest, thus, allowing child traffickers to take advantage of the lapses to continue with their diabolical trade in children. She said, West Africa is a region characterized by a considerable population mobility, both within countries and transnational, most especially children. Many of them leave their homes and villages for the big cities or even neighboring countries, seeking better economic prospects for themselves and their families.
Madam Samboe made these observations at a workshop in Accra organized by Terre des Hommes in partnership with African Movement of Working Children and Youth (AMWCY) and ENDA Youth Action.
Children are at risk of some of the worst forms of abuse and harm through trafficking. Often dependent on human smuggling, they can easily fall victim to traffickers and other criminals. Many are also subjected to extreme forms of abuse and deprivation during their journeys.
Among the millions of children on the move worldwide, include thousands of unaccompanied minors and adolescents. They are forced to undertake dangerous journeys, often lacking safe and legal pathways. The trade in child trafficking is now serves as a booming market for human smugglers. This puts children at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. She added that, migrant children are at risk of different forms of exploitation.
In West Africa, more and more children migrate to escape poverty. A lot of these migrant children stay within the region and move towards cities and agricultural or production sites such as gold mines or cacao plantations to work.
Lack of credible date makes it difficult to overestimate the peril of the millions of children on the move beyond their borders and the barriers they face. Child migration is therefore ignored or the numbers underestimated.
She added that, most agencies do not talk about child migrants. Most Agencies are interested in child abuse, child exploitation, child marriage among others, forgetting that child migration is also a contributing factor of the abuses children go through.
She emphasized that, all children have the same rights, migrant children inclusive and therefore the same rights that are extended to other children must be extended to migrant children.
The Terre des Hommes Foundation is a child aid organization was founded in Switzerland in the 1960s and is active in thirty-six countries in the world and thirteen in West Africa.
In 2017, they launched the CORAL Project in Ghana which aims at improving the protection of migrant children along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor of the West African Coast in order to reduce their vulnerability and to improve access to developmental opportunities.
By: Latifa Carlos