Member of Parliament for Afram Plains North, Betty Krosbi Mensah is again raising concern over purported anti-child trafficking operations in her constituency and the lack of regard for its residents.
She sounded the alarm after what she describes as a Rambo style raid by military and police personnel led to the arrest of nine persons.
“On Saturday, April, 27, 2019 between the hours 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, four speed boats carrying men in military and police uniforms with one white woman went to some Island communities in the Afram Plains North Constituency without any provocation amidst gunshots and in the process arrested nine of my constituents.”
Krosbi Mensah told Citi News complaints had been made to her after the personnel fired shots in the area causing some residents to flee into the bushes.
“None of the community members are aware of why the decision to go into the community in that Rambo style… the DCE isn’t aware of such operations. The Social Welfare Officer is unaware. The district police service is also unaware of the operation.”
“As I speak to you know, we don’t know where the nine members of the community have been sent… We don’t even know where we have to be doing our follow-ups or if there is the need for us to go and bail these community members.”
District Police in the dark
The Afram Plains North District police commander, Superintendent Yaw Gadikor told Citi News the Assemblyman for the Manchare area had made an official complaint to him.
According to Supt. Gadikor, this was not the first time an operation involving other security personnel had been executed on his blind side.
“One happened about two or three months ago and this was brought before the DISEC [District Security Council] and actually the district told them that if anything like this happens, they should inform us here.”
So far, it appears only two of the security personnel may have been identified, according to the officer.
“They have identified two people among them as wildlife personnel from Donkorkrom here so we are trying to get with the boss [of the Forestry Commission here],” Supt. Gadikor said.
Citi News checks indicate that the Wildlife officer for Donkokrom has confirmed that he received instructions from his superiors in Koforidua to assist a team dispatched to the area, for which e gave the two men.
The Afram Plains North MP has had cause to complain in the past over similar operations launched to rescue children on the Volta Lake suspected to have trafficked into forced labour.
Krosbi Mensah had argued that some foreign-funded NGOs show limited understanding of context in fishing communities along the lake.
Though she had acknowledged that not all children on the islands work with their biological parents, she insisted that it is not because of rampant sale or trafficking of children, as CNN and others have suggested.
The Global Slavery Index currently estimates that there are 21, 000 children working in and around the Volta Lake.
Ghana prohibits all forms of trafficking through the 2005 Human Trafficking Act, which prescribes a minimum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for all forms of trafficking.
There are also some other incredibly detailed systems in the Act eliminate this crime.
But like illegal mining over the years, the law has done little to serve as a deterrent.