Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
GNAT Hall, Accra
July 21, 2020
Nii Chairperson, Honorable Minister, Representatives of the European Union, the Embassy of France, and Expertise France, all protocols observed:
Good morning, thank you for inviting me to participate in today’s event.
Congratulations to the Government of Ghana on its increased inter-ministerial efforts at every step along the way of this crime, that have yielded results in the fight against human trafficking. The United States government is a solid partner with you in fighting this scourge.
Every year the United States Government sends a report to Congress on efforts to combat trafficking in persons in countries around the world. The Government of Ghana increased its efforts over the past year and therefore retained its Tier 2 ranking.
These efforts included increasing resources dedicated to implementation of its anti-trafficking action plan; sentencing more convicted traffickers to significant prison terms; improving inter-ministerial, interagency, and civil society cooperation to identify and remove children from trafficking situations; increasing anti-trafficking public awareness activities; and adopting systematic trafficking data collection procedures. Ayikoo!
As his Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated one year ago, at the launch of PANAFEST during the year of return, “never again should African people go through such inhumane treatment.” As the chairman has pointed out, no country is immune from modern day trafficking. But we’re here today to end human trafficking here in Ghana.
We’d like to see Ghana strengthen its efforts further, by devoting additional resources and building further capacity, increasing shelter space for victims, and amending the anti-trafficking act regulations to remove the option of a fine in lieu of imprisonment in cases where the trafficker is a parent or guardian of the child victim. Fines can be viewed as the “cost of doing business.” But consistent enforcement of consequences – of serving time in prison – will be a stronger deterrent.
You, the media, have a role to play. You can help citizens be alert to the signs of a trafficked person, and can help people – families and potential victims alike – be wary of offers that seem too good to be true, both within Ghana and abroad, offers of employment or education opportunities that are really wolves in sheep’s clothing. You can cover the court cases and follow up to report on convictions to amplify the deterrent effect.
Let’s help people fulfill their potential and not be held back by the scourge of human trafficking. The United States stands ready to continue supporting Ghana’s efforts to eradicate human trafficking. Thank you.