2nd National Symposium on Human Trafficking – As Prepared Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Christopher J. Lamora

Chargé d'affaires Christopher Lamora delivering his remarks

As Prepared Remarks for Chargé d’Affaires Christopher J. Lamora
2nd National Symposium on Human Trafficking
GNAT Hall | September 29, 2020 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM

Honorable Cynthia Mamle Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection
Members of the diplomatic corps
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
All protocols observed

Good morning. I’d like to express gratitude for being able to participate in today’s event. It is heartening to be here among committed officials, tireless advocates, and other champions fighting trafficking in persons. You dedicate your lives to helping the powerless achieve their most basic freedoms, and it is truly an honorable calling.

I’d also like to commend the Honorable Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, for convening us here today to increase public awareness of human trafficking, especially as it pertains to our most vulnerable – our children.

The United States stands in defense of human rights and works tirelessly to combat trafficking in persons. Through our strong bilateral relationship, the United States and Ghana will one day end such practices once and for all.

Every year the U.S. Government sends a report to Congress on efforts to combat trafficking in persons in countries around the world. The process helps us partner effectively with countries around the world by identifying systemic vulnerabilities and strengthening governance and accountability. In recognition of the Government of Ghana’s significant efforts to address trafficking Ghana was upgraded to Tier 2 in 2018 and has retained its ranking for the subsequent two years.

It is an achievement about which Ghana has every right and reason to be extremely proud.

But none of us can accomplish this work alone. Success depends, in large part, on building and maintaining effective partnerships – not just between my government and yours, but also with non-governmental organizations and other members of civil society who share our commitment and dedication.

The milestones and progress Ghana has achieved that led you to the Tier 2 ranking in 2018 that I mentioned earlier are not simply checked boxes or dull reports filled with statistics. This progress represent grueling work, and ultimately freedom for Actual. Human. Lives.

I am also proud of the work we have done through the U.S.-Ghana Child Protection Compact.

Signed in 2015, the Compact was the first partnership of its kind, through which the United States committed $5 million over five years to bolster Ghana’s capacity to combat child trafficking. The Compact has leveraged the strengths of implementing partners like the International Organization for Migration and Free the Slaves. It established a technical working group to improve inter-ministerial communication and cooperation. And the Compact improved the “three P’s” that are critical to making advances in the fight against trafficking: protection, prevention, and prosecution.

Finally, I would also like to highlight some of the important work of the United States and Ghana in critical sectors. The U.S. Agency for International Development and Ghana’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development have also jointly developed a strategy to combat child labor and trafficking in the fisheries sector. I was honored to witness the Government of Ghana sign that strategy and to about U.S. support for its development in October 2018.

And the U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau and the Office to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons are working with an NGO to build the capacity of police to prosecute and arrest child traffickers operating on Lake Volta. These comprehensive efforts further underscore our shared commitment to combating human trafficking.

Unfortunately, there remains much work to be done. The TIP Report’s recommendations for Ghana include the following:

  • Increase efforts to vigorously investigate, prosecute, and sentence traffickers as well as complicit officials under the Human Trafficking Act;
  • Increase resources to police and social welfare personnel to enable them to respond effectively to reports of suspected sex or labor trafficking;
  • Investigate and prosecute recruitment agents and others suspected of participating in trafficking Ghanaian migrant workers; and
  • Increase the collaboration between investigators and prosecutors during case development and throughout the prosecution of human trafficking cases. 

All of these are possible, though, if all of us, working together, maintain and build upon the dedication that all of you here today have shown to date. The U.S.

Government looks forward to continuing our joint efforts to realize these important goals and safeguard freedom for the vulnerable.

Thank you.