HUMAN TRAFFICKING is estimated to be the third most profitable illegal economic business in addition to illicit drugs and arms trafficking according to ILO reports.
The International Labour Organization, a Global Alliance against Forced Labour (2005), estimates that a total of $32 billion annual profits are generated by the human trafficking industry.
According to its statistics, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries, $9.7billion in Asia with $13,000 generated on average by each âforced laborer per year.â
The Minister of Women and Childrenâs Affairs, Juliana Azumah-Mensah made the statement in a speech read on her behalf during the opening of a two-day stakeholdersâ conference on anti-human smuggling and trafficking.
The conference organized by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) themed âBuilding partnerships to counter human smuggling and trafficking in Ghanaâ brought together anti-human smuggling and trafficking and development experts to discuss measures to tackle the menace.
She said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns (April, 2006) indicates that 161 countries are affected by human trafficking.
The minister said the statistics also revealed 127 nations as countries of origin, 98 as transit countries and 137 as destination countries.
Madam Azumah-Mensah stated that the US Department of Stateâs 2007 âTrafficking Personsâ also quoted 27million persons as trafficked and 800,000 people being trafficked across international borders every year.
âILO estimates 2.4 million people as victims of human trafficking from 1995-2005,â she said.
Acting Director, GIS, Dr. Peter A Wiredu on his part revealed that Ghana qualifies as a source, transit and destination country in the context of migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
âThe recent Libyan crisis and its subsequent mass evacuation of about 25,000 Ghanaians attest to the fact that Ghana is really a source country.
Giving statistics Dr. Wiredu said between January 2010 and May 2012, 124 cases involving migrant smuggling were dealt with through interception by immigration officers at Kotoka International Airport.
âMost of these smugglers attempted to use Ghana as a transit route to Canada and Europe.â
The Minister of Interior, William K. Aboah in a speech read on his behalf noted, âTackling migrant smuggling necessitates a comprehensive, multi-dimensional response which begins with addressing the socio-economic root causes of irregular migration to prevent it, and the prosecution of criminals who commit smuggling-related crimes.â
Adding his voice Ambassador Claude Maerten, Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana said the EU and its member states notably UK, Netherlands and Denmark have all pledged support in combating the canker.
He noted that trafficking in human beings is an extremely serious crime and a gross violation of human rights which can be classified as a modern form of slavery.
âThe European Unionâs anti-human trafficking policy takes a holistic approach focusing on prevention, the protection of victims and prosecution of criminals,â he said.
Â By Stella Danso Addai & Amma Serwaa Asamoah