July 14, 2017
Attempts to traffick some 150 women to the Gulf region, has been foiled by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).
It follows increased vigilance by the immigration authorities to clamp down on the illegal migration of Ghanaians to the Gulf region as domestic workers who end up being stranded and maltreated in those countries.
According to the GIS, the trafficking of the 150 labour migrants was intercepted last three weeks, with four of them being halted yesterday, Thursday.
Comptroller-General of GIS, Mr Kwame AsuahTakyi, revealed in Accra today when the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. Isaac Crentsil called on him, to discuss issues on border management and human trafficking .
He said the rescued women, aged between 18 and 28 years, were being trafficked through the eastern corridor especially Aflao in the Volta Region.
Some of the traffickers, he said, have been arrested and would soon be arraigned before court.
He cautioned the public, particularly job seekers and prospective labour migrants, to be wary of what he described as “free travelling and juicy working opportunities” abroad, saying the traffickers use that to entice unsuspecting people.
Early last month, the government placed a temporary ban on recruitment of workers to Gulf countries after a hike in reported cases of abuse faced by migrant workers.
Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius BaffourAwuah, announced the suspension on June 2, 2017, saying there is a freeze on the issuance of recruitment licenses as part of measures to curb the abuses.
The reported cases of maltreatment have emanated from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where Ghanaian migrant workers are said to be often abused by their employers.
This directive follows calls by several human rights activists to ban Visa-20 – visas issued solely to those seeking to travel to the Gulf as house helps.
Meanwhile, about 800 Ghanaian migrants living in Saudi Arabia illegally have turned themselves in at Ghana’s mission there to be deported.
This follows a three-month amnesty granted illegal residents by the Saudi government to leave or be sanctioned.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway explains that the Ghana government is subsidizing the cost of travel of some of the migrants, while others would be transported home free of charge.
“They’ve been given an extended deadline of 24th of July so any time after that they will be coming and these are voluntary returnees. We have assisted in reducing the fees for the travel certificate and instances they can’t afford it give it to them. And the international Organization on Migration is also helping by getting them tickets to come back,” she added.
The Ghana Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in May 2017 appealed to Ghanaians living in that country without residency and work permits to take advantage of a package by the Embassy to return them to Ghana.
Ghana’s mission at the time said over 500 people applied voluntarily to be repatriated.
This was because Saudi Arabia announced a 90-day amnesty for persons living in that country illegally who wished to return to their countries of origin as part of the Kingdom’s “A Nation Without Illegal Expatriates” campaign.
There have been several reported cases of abuses and maltreatment of Ghanaians who usually take up jobs as maids and nannies in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Several female Ghanaians were rescued in Kuwait by the Ghanaian Embassy in 2015.
According to Ghana’s mission, it is regrettable to note that both Ghanaian agents and their foreign counterparts mislead prospective Ghanaian workers by promising them non-existent juicy offers which turn out to be a hell for most of these workers.
By: Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com