The Human Trafficking Secretariat of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) conducted a two-day capacity-building training for Ghanaian cocoa cooperatives. The training was conducted in collaboration with the European Union (EU), Expertise France and the leadership of the Department of Cooperatives, and was held at the Credit Unions Training Centre in Kasoa.
One of the training objectives was to build the capacity of Ghana’s Cocoa cooperatives, including through the expansion of staff in the Department of Social Welfare, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and Ghana’s Cocoa board.
In addition, the organisers wanted to educate participants on the national and international legal framework to combat human trafficking. It is important that they are able to recognise indicators and understand the principles for referral and management of trafficking cases.
Sena Owusu-Gibson, Deputy Director of the Human Trafficking Secretariat, represented the MoGCSP and stated that they are not “resting on their oars” in combating trafficking.
She pointed out the complexity of the poverty situation in Africa and highlighted the dilemma many Cocoa producers face: Either they keep their children in school and encourage the development of their skills, or they force them to work on the farms or on the streets to supplement the family income.
Let us always remember that there can be no justifiable reason for engaging and endangering the lives of our children on our farms, factories, offices etc and especially in tasks that do not bring them any beneficial permanence. Despite all the interventions put in place by government and Civil Society Organisations to keep children from being exploited, some unscrupulous individuals continue to breach the laws and employ children on cocoa farms due to their need for cheap labour.Sena Owusu-Gibson, Deputy Director, Human Trafficking Secretariat
Mr William Kwashie Darlie, the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies, noted that the issue of labour exploitation and forced labour, particularly in relation to children on Ghana’s Cocoa farms, has been a topic of discussion among the international community for some time.
He pointed out that one of the functions of the Department of Cooperatives, under the Cooperative Societies Decree 252 of 1968, is to provide for the sensitisation, registration, auditing, inspection and arbitration of cooperatives. According to him, these duties are often neglected. He then commended the EU and Expertise France for facilitating the training of the department’s staff.
Serge Akpalou, Expertise France’s project manager in Ghana, said they were committed to supporting the government in its efforts to combat human trafficking
He believes that during the two-day workshop, officials will gain a better understanding of the prevailing issues of human trafficking in the Cocoa sector. He also hopes that they will be better equipped to identify victims and work with those involved in the referral and care of victims.
The fight against human trafficking cannot be done by the government alone, but all stakeholders need to be involved. Today we are gathered here for the first of two sensitisation and capacity-building training for Cocoa Cooperatives in Ghana, with the next batch to be held in Kumasi.Serge Akpalou, Project Manager, Expertise France
Children are being exploited for cheap labour to do hazardous work in cocoa on farms due to poverty and these education and sensitisation programmes are important to educate stakeholders on the negative effects hazardous work has on the development of children,” explained Akpalou.