Tema, Ghana :: Logos Hope partners with local agencies to address the issue of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is as old as humanity. It’s in the Bible, where we read that Joseph was trafficked to Egypt.” With this example, a Ghanaian policewoman addressed a conference on board Logos Hope, focussed on the issue which has become the world’s second-biggest source of criminal income; generating 1.5 billion dollars a year.
The ‘Traffic Proof’ seminar brought together representatives from law enforcement, government agencies, churches and charities, as well as the media. OM Africa’s ‘Traffick Wise’ team ran training and delivered sobering statistics, such as the most recent estimate that 45.8 million people across the globe are being used as slaves.
“That’s a whole nation,” said Annelize Theunissen, from OM Africa, “and you can double and triple that figure to get the number of perpetrators involved. Then, you can add the whole world to it – because if we get any benefit from this trade, such as buying goods manufactured by people who’re in debt bondage, or eating chocolate harvested by children, we are keeping the machine running.”
A local policeman, Inspector J.Y. Adjei, found the seminar informative. “We know it is happening but we need wisdom to penetrate these syndicates,” the inspector said. “Our rural areas are poor, so gangs prey on parents, saying they will bring their sons to the city to educate them. People give their children away because it is prestigious for them to be in the city, but it is a lie. The young people are then exploited and they may not tell anyone, as they will be suffering shame.”
Up to 800,000 Ghanaians are said to be trafficked annually. OM Ghana shared stories about its rehabilitation programme for young women rescued from prostitution or child marriages. They now learn tailoring and hairdressing skills.
OM Ghana’s Director, Chris Insaidoo, left the agencies with a challenge to consider all the needs of the people they undertake to help. “If you offer someone an apprenticeship, you have to make sure they don’t return to their former life out of desperation. How will they eat? Where will they live?” he asked. “Make sure you help them to the end – don’t just help them half-way and then stop.”