Factors Influencing Child Trafficking: An analysis of cases reported in Ghana
Abstract: Trafficking in persons is a global challenge. Several millions of victims are affected by trafficking annually. Most of these victims are children who are exploited sexually and into forced labour. There have been global concerns on the occurrence of trafficking and Ghana as a country, has been placed on the tier 2 watch list by the United States. This dissertation provided an analysis on the factors that influence child trafficking in Ghana and included the child victim – offender familiarity and the spread of child trafficking cases.The study used data gathered from media and institutional reports as well as research articles on child trafficking in Ghana. The period considered was from 2013 to 2017. Both quantitative and qualitative content analysis was used as the method of analysis. The theoretical approach used in this dissertation was victimology and considerations of victim precipitation, lifestyle exposure and routine activity.The study showed that, although efforts have been made to control trafficking in persons in Ghana, reviewed reports and articles indicated a country-wide spread of child trafficking. There were indications of both sexual and labour exploitation of these young children whose age could be as low as five years. Most of these child victims were familiar with facilitators of trafficking, especially as parents and other relatives played major roles in trading these children to traffickers and exploiters. The main contributing factor to child trafficking from the study was poverty. This led to trading children to exploiters for an amount between 80 cedis (17.78 US dollars) to 100 cedis ($22.22 US dollars) only. Other factors noted were the culture and societal norm of forced marriages and child fostering. The demand of cheap labour amidst porous borders, weak law enforcement and political commitment further worsened the problem. Children’s risk of being victimized into trafficking involved their parents and caregivers being pushed by poverty and poor socio-economic situations to trade them. These parents facilitated their children’s victimization by luring or coercing them into accepting traffickers offers.There remains the need for renewed efforts by the state, its agencies and partners to address the challenge of trafficking. Commitment to fighting trafficking should be motivated by the horrendous situation and exploitations children, who remain the future of every country are subjected to. The continued collaboration between these agencies and partners is important in controlling child trafficking in Ghana.
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