Minister questioned over foreign prostitution scams.
Parliament has given the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations two weeks to prepare and respond to allegations that Ghanaian women have been forced into prostitution in Asia and the Middle East.
The order follows a report published by the US Department of State which reveals that Ghanaian women are recruited by dubious recruiting agencies, and trafficked to Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait where they are forced to work as prostitutes.
The Second Deputy Speaker, Joe Ghartey, who gave the order when he took the chair in the absence of the Speaker and his First Deputy, gave the Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, two weeks to prepare and brief the House on the government’s response to those allegations.
According to him, the Labour Act 2003, Act 651 indicates that an agency can recruit people from Ghana to work in other countries only when it has acquired a licence to do so, and with an agreement between Ghana and that country.
He gave the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, four weeks to prepare and appear before the House to brief the members on the state of human trafficking in the country.
Mr. Ghartey said it would be imperative for the lawmakers to be briefed on the severity of the issue, so that it would be referred to the appropriate committee for a thorough investigation.
The Member of Parliament for Subin, who is also the Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Isaac Osei, brought the issue on the floor when he delivered a statement on the US Department of State’s 2014 report on “Trafficking in Persons”.
He said in advanced countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia, among others, there were many Ghanaians who were encouraged to visit with promises of domestic jobs, but were forced into prostitution.
Mr. Osei said the report put Ghana on tier two, which meant that the government had not fully complied with the minimum standard for the elimination of trafficking.
“The report identifies Ghana not only as a source and transit country for the trafficking of people but also as a destination,” he said, and added that intra-country trafficking was more prevalent than transitional trafficking of persons.
He said the report identified the Volta and Western Regions as regions where child prostitution was prevalent while fishing, domestic service, begging, and street hawking, among others, were identified as sectors where many young boys and girls were forced to work.
He stressed the need for the Human Trafficking Act, 2005, Act 694 which prohibited all forms of trafficking to be enforced, and called on the government to present a Legislative Instrument to the House for approval for the laws to be implemented effiectively.