IOM, Community Partners Act to Prevent Child Trafficking in Ghana
Ghana - In August 2014 IOM Ghana will roll out a series of community-based child protection and counter-trafficking training sessions as part of a UNICEF-backed project.
The project, entitled “Technical Support to the Government of Ghana to Address Child Trafficking and Other Child Protection Abuses: Phase II” will focus on the Ketu South Municipality, and North and South Tongu Districts of the Volta Region.
These community awareness sessions follow the recent training of 16 community volunteers and three district representatives on the “Free To Be Me” Child Protection Toolkit developed in Phase I of the project.
The community focused sessions will continue through October 2014, facilitated by community volunteers and the IOM counter-trafficking team.
Protection and prevention modules will focus on the harsh realities of child labour; the legal implications of child trafficking; parenting techniques; and children’s rights.
All members of the community including elders, local council members, residents and children will be targeted as part of outreach efforts.
“The ‘Free To Be Me’ toolkit empowers communities to combat child trafficking. We hope that this second phase will contribute to efforts to break the cycle of harmful practices against children. All parents want the best for their children. With this initiative, we give them a chance to collectively revisit traditional values of good parenting,” says Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.
With support from UNICEF and in cooperation with national, regional and local authorities, IOM developed a 12-module child protection toolkit and piloted the first six modules in 2013. A total of 7,389 individuals participated in 104 community training activities in six communities within three districts/municipalities.
An internal evaluation revealed a three- to four-fold increase in knowledge among community members regarding child protection and counter-trafficking issues following the pilot sessions held in 2013. There has also been an observed reduction in the number of children given to fisherman in the months following the trainings, and three children were returned to one community.
IOM has over ten years of experience with the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of children forced to work under hazardous conditions in the fishing industry along Volta Lake, as well as outreach in both sending and receiving communities. To date, 732 children have been assisted and over 48,000 community members, including fishermen, have been sensitized to human trafficking and children’s rights.
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