The Flagstaff House of Ghana

Trafficking in Persons: Ghana’s national action plan prompts tier 3 waiver

Ghana’s devoted effort to meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of Trafficking in Persons has prompted a Tier 3 waiver as stipulated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, although Ghana did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it made significant effort to do so.

The report noted that The Trafficking Victims Protection Act provides for a waiver to remain on the Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year if the government develops a national plan of action to combat human trafficking and dedicates sufficient resources for its implementation that, when implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards.

It said, because the Government of Ghana devoted sufficient resources to a written plan of action that, if implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards, Ghana was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3.

Ghana, the report pointed out, could be subject to an automatic downgrade to Tier 3 in the 2018 TIP Report which could lead to restrictions on U.S. assistance.

“The Government of Ghana has taken initial steps this year to protect Ghanaian men, women and children from being enslaved. We urge the government to remain vigilant and to fully implement the new national plan of action against trafficking. When funded as promised, Ghana will be better able to prevent and prosecute trafficking and provide support services for victims of trafficking in Ghana,” the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert Jackson was quoted as saying about the report.

“The theme of this year’s report says it all: traffickers must be held criminally accountable. Unless Ghanaians work with law enforcement and the courts to bring traffickers to justice, they will continue to commit these horrific crimes. This isn’t about what the United States wants Ghana to do. It’s about Ghanaian men, women and children who are suffering because traffickers are allowed to violate Ghana’s laws and morality,” he was further stated as saying about the report.

The report further made some recommendations for Ghana which includes the following:

• Increasing the number of traffickers held accountable for their crimes by providing sufficient support for the police, immigration service and attorney general’s office to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses;
• Increasing government support for comprehensive trauma-informed care and reintegration services for children in government-operated shelters, including child sex trafficking victims; and
• Implementing the national plan of action against trafficking with dedicated resources, including funding and implementation of the human trafficking fund.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng