Ghana’s former Deputy Head of Mission to Saudi Arabia, Hajia Hawawu Boya Gariba, has lent credence to speculations that government heavyweights and influential persons in society are behind the trafficking of young Ghanaian girls to the Gulf states.
Speaking on PM Express on the Joy News channel on Multi TV, Monday, Hajia Gariba said although she would not mention names now, trafficking of girls to the Gulf States, many of whom are abused, has been difficult to fight due to the involvement of these influential persons.
“If you hear the names that go into this kind of business, you will be shocked. I cannot mention names now. But if you hear the type of big names that are involved in this thing you will not respect them again,” she told show host, Nana Ansah Kwao IV.
A chilling report by Joy News’ Kwetey Nettey has chronicled the ordeals of Ghanaian girls in the Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arabia – rape, forced prostitution and physical abuse among accounts by the girls who return home.
Some of the girls – recruited through phony agencies or sold to persons by their guardians – told Joy News they are sometimes made to work menial jobs for a pittance and under harsh conditions.
There have been speculations that influential government officials and other respected persons are behind the practice, however, no arrests have been made.
Speaking on the nightly show, Hajia Gariba urged authorities to step up the fight against child trafficking, particularly to the Gulf States because the abuse of girls in these countries have gone on for too long.
“Apart from arms and drugs, child trafficking is next and we have to tackle this seriously,” she urged.
Ghana passed the Human Trafficking Law in 2005, making human trafficking a criminal offence, punishable by at least five years’ imprisonment.
However, in 2016, Ghana was classified as a Tier 2 Watch List country by the US State Department, citing Ghana’s inability to demonstrate enough effort to prevent human trafficking, prosecute criminals and protect victims.
The UN has condemned Ghana’s poor anti-human trafficking recordings, noting that internal trafficking of children remains one of the biggest challenges facing the country.
Watch the full episode of Monday night’s PM Express below.