UN Migration Agency Trains Judges on Adjudication of Human Trafficking in Ghana

Posted: 
06/23/17
Themes: 
Capacity Building, Counter-Trafficking, Human Smuggling

Ghana – The UN Migration Agency (IOM), in partnership with the United States Government and the Government of Ghana, hosted a three-day training for 14 Ghanaian judges on “Adjudication of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Cases”, especially those involving children.

For the second year in a row, Ghana has been ranked as Tier 2 on the watch list in the Trafficking in Persons Report, released annually by the United States Department of State Office to Combat TIP. That designation indicates that Ghana is not meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of TIP – especially when it comes to the number of prosecutions and convictions in TIP cases.

As such, Ghana risks an automatic downgrade to Tier 3 in 2017. Justice Elizabeth Ankumah commented: “This training is illuminating and all encompassing. I find the training very practical. The participants’ minds are drawn to the challenges faced by prosecutors and investigators, as well as to deeper insights into trauma and how it may affect the victim’s behaviour and testimony. A new addition, which the court may use in criminal trials, is the use of case management, after the trail investigation within the Ghanaian law. I think it should be extended to other judges and we are grateful to the organizers.”

The IOM training aims to ensure TIP cases are adjudicated with a greater understanding of trauma while also emphasizing victim safety during the judicial process. In addition, the training seeks to strengthen the integrity of a criminal justice system that will hold offenders accountable for the full extent of their criminal behaviour.

Topics include the dynamics of human trafficking, recognizing and minimizing trauma, recognition and prevention of victim intimidation, consideration of expert testimony and sentencing considerations.

As part of the Child Protection Compact (CPC) partnership between the governments of the United States and Ghana, IOM Ghana is training 14 judges from both the Circuit and High Courts of the Volta, Central, and Greater Accra regions. The CPC partnership focuses on internal trafficking of children, largely for the purpose of labour exploitation.

The workshop was inaugurated by the United States Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Robert P. Jackson.

“Human trafficking is not just about studying and applying the law, it is about human beings,” said H.E. Ambassador Jackson. “If we look at human trafficking cases as about real people who have suffered, it will make us more focused.

“Victims are all people with rights. As judges, you have been entrusted with administrating justice on behalf of all Ghanaians, including victims of trafficking. When victims are unable or afraid to participate in their court cases, the traffickers win,” he added.

High Court Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei, Director of the Judicial Training Institute, said to the trainees: “Human trafficking has become a canker which needs to be addressed. We are urging you to understand the laws, understand how evidence can be used, and come up with a good judgement.”

IOM-organized training is being led by AEquitas – a United States-based organization of former prosecutors who specialize in training related to the prosecution of human trafficking. Delivered in an interactive manner, the training engages participants in group exercises, brainstorming sessions, demonstrations and role playing.

IOM will monitor the impact of the trainings through regular data collection of prosecutions and convictions of human trafficking to inform future trainings.

For further information, please contact Alex Billings at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233 302 742 930, Email: abillings@iom.int

 

  • IOM conducts a three-day training for Ghanaian judges on “Adjudication of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Cases” especially those involving children. Photo: IOM 2017