An operation to clamp down on the human trafficking and child labour menace on the Volta Lake has led to the rescue of some 43 children from island communities around Kpando, Abotoase and Kwamekrom in the Volta region.
The children, between ages 4 and 16 years were retrieved from fishing boats on the lake during the swoop jointly conducted by a team of personnel from the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Ghana Police Service, the Navy and the Marine Police.
Some 13 suspects have been also arrested by the taskforce in the Monday operation, which was heavily supported by a Non-Governmental Organization, the International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Department of Social Welfare.
Inspector Joseph Nakoja, Head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit at the Volta Regional Police Command, who disclosed this to Ultimate News’ Volta regional correspondent Lambert Atsivor, said the victims comprising 42 boys and a girl are being sheltered in Ho, as officials of the social welfare and IJM conduct an assessment on them to ascertain information regarding the where about of their families.
The 13 suspects, said to have engaged the children in hazardous fishing are also in custody assisting in further investigations, he add.
“It was a combined team operation on the Volta Lake to rescue these children we believe are being use for exploitative labour and those who are victims of trafficking. At the end of the day, we rescued 43 children, ages between 4 and 16 years and we also arrested 13 male suspects, who are presently in police custody,” he stated.
Inspector Nakoja further indicated that, the operation was necessitated by the increasing reports of the nefarious activities on the lake, which saw the Volta region ranked top in child trafficking and labour incidences by a recently published United States’ Embassy report on the menace in Ghana.
“Trafficking on the Volta Lake have been a hell to all of us, this US report that was recently released was all about Volta region. Because of that we have decided to embark on these operations frequently so we can rescue these children and also arrest the perpetrators until we eliminate or bring down the phenomenon to minimum levels,” he noted.
Adding that, a sustained nationwide anti-human trafficking operation would also help to improve Ghana’s current tier two ranking on the watch list of countries monitoring and combating trafficked persons; a position which has caused some donor partners to threaten aid cut to the country, should it drop to tier three of the rankings.