Girls Preferred Over Boys In Volta Region Fishing Industry

Children as young as three and six years have become favourites of female child traffickers as they will not be impregnated.

This is part of highlights of a baseline study by the International Justice Mission (IJM) into the trafficking of people in impoverished fishing communities in Ghana.

In a continuing series on child trafficking, an investigation by Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey has found that hiring girls is becoming attractive in fishing communities.

Although young boys are the preferred choice of child traffickers because they are used for fishing activities on the Volta Lake, the demand for young girls is on the increase in coastal communities.

According to the study, girls begin working in the fishing industry at similar ages as boys.

Some of the women who choose girls over boys say older girls are likely to snatch their husbands and can become pregnant at age 12 or 14.

A senior attorney at IJM, Ama Amankwah says the children are engaged for labour purposes.

“We engaged almost 800 children on the Lake in the course of the research and we found that slightly over 57 percent of those children had been sent to that area, is for labour purposes,” she said.

The 2015 study also found that both boys and girls have physically demanding and sometimes hazardous roles in the Volta Lake fishing industry.

They also worked long hours often getting little sleep and working during the night.

According to the study, the services of girls are required for tasks like processing, preserving and selling fish.

However, girls work on the Lake when fishermen are understaffed.

Mrs Amankwah wants this stopped with government intensifying its efforts in prosecuting persons behind the trade.

Commenting on the phenomena, Deputy Employment and Labour Relations Minister Bright Wireko-Brobbey assured that government’s national action plan to be implemented will help deal with the situation.

He said the Ministry will collaborate fully with all relevant stakeholders, international organisations, the private sector and civil organisations, traditional rulers among others.

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