By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA
Accra, April 5, GNA – A Community Action Plan on Child Labour and Trafficking (CLaT) has been developed by the people of Moree in the Abura Asebu Kwamankese (AAK) District of the Central Region.
The move is part of efforts to deal with the increasing number of child abuse and trafficking issues in the area.
The yearlong Action Plan, proposed and drafted by the Community Child Protection Committee, and the Community Anti-Child Labour and Trafficking advocates, is geared towards the fight against cross-border trafficking and the worst forms of child labour in fishing communities.
The five-page document also seeks to eliminate unapproved fishing practices and promote modern methods of fishing, preservation, processing, packaging and storing to provide a diversified sources of livelihood for the community members who are mostly fishermen and fishmongers.
The Action Plan would be submitted to the AAK District Assembly and when accepted would form part of the Assembly’s bye laws.
It is being supervised by the Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA) under the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Plan would among others institute and implement sanctions against perpetrators and also name and shame such perpetrators to serve as deterrent to others.
It also seeks to educate the community on child rights and anti-trafficking laws as well as pressurizing the appropriate institutions to perform their functions.
Moree is one of the oldest fishing communities with an estimated population of about 22,703 which accommodates migrant fisher folks from other areas, a situation which has given rise to child labour and trafficking activities in that area.
Household surveys conducted by the SFMP in 2015 revealed that CLaT was widely practiced in the fishing communities of which Moree was part and had worsened in recent times due to declining fish harvest.
This compelled CEWEFIA to form Community Anti-Child Labour and Trafficking advocates and Community Child Protection Committees in fishing communities within the Central Region.
The Plan is an initiative of the advocates and the committee members.
Presenting the Action Plan at a validation meeting with community members, Mr Isaac Nketia, an advocate and member of the Community Child Protection Committee, said the major problems facing the community was taken into consideration in drafting the Action Plan.
He said consultations with chiefs and other opinion leaders in the community were also made to solicit their input.
He enumerated some of the problems facing the community to include, poor access to credit, lack of sustainable jobs, teenage pregnancy, poor parenting, illiteracy, among others.
He said the Action Plan would provide lasting solution to the identified problems such that there would be improvement in the living standards of community members.
He was optimistic that the Action Plan would achieve its intended objective if it received maximum support from the chiefs, opinion leaders and the entire members of the community.
Mrs Victoria Koomson, Executive Director of CEWEFIA, commended the efforts of the community child protection committees and the Community Anti-Child Labour and Trafficking advocates to help curb child labour and trafficking issues in the communities.
She called for harmonised engagement between the chiefs, opinion leaders, anti-trafficking civil society organisations, religious bodies and community members to fight child labour and human trafficking.
She called on them to help facilitate the effective implementation of the Action Plan, adding that, dealing with the problem was a collective responsibility.
Mrs Koomson bemoaned the rate of teenage pregnancy in the area and encouraged parents to embrace family planning methods to protect the young girls who were the future of the community.
5 April 17