Ghana, United States partner to address child labour

By Iddi Yire

Accra, Sept 16, GNA – Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, has underscored the Ministry’s collaboration with the United States Department of Labour to address child labour in Ghana.

That, he said, was part of efforts to ensure Ghana achieved the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 in collaboration with other partners.

The SDG 8.7 seeks to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers.

It seeks to end child labour, in all forms, by 2025.

Mr Baffour-Awuah said this on Friday when Madam Virginia Evelyn Palmer, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Accra.

He highlighted the good working relations between the Ministry and Madam Palmer’s predecessor, Madam Stephanie S. Sullivan, and the need to deepen that cordiality and diplomatic ties for the benefit of both countries.

The US had supported Ghana in critical sectors including employment, trade, agriculture, education, health, peace and security, energy, oil and gas and climate change, he said.

The Minister acknowledged the support of the United States Department of Labour (USDOL) towards the elimination of child labour on cocoa farms.

He said through those interventions, Ghana’s ranking on the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report had seen much improvement from a “Tier 2 Watch List” to “Tier 2” since 2018, which had been maintained till date.

Mr Baffour-Awuah mentioned the Child Protection Compact (CPC) partnership, funded by the US in 2015, and focused on the four Ps – Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, and Partnerships, which improved inter-agency responses to child labour and trafficking related issues.

He said there was, therefore, the need to learn from the review of the Compact to sustain it.

Mr Baffour-Awuah touched on the many US funded Forced Labour Projects in the country, notable among them being the $4million project on Cooperatives, VERITE and the International Labour Organization collaboration in fishing projects.

He said the Ministry was promoting the green initiatives in support of the Paris Agreement on Climate change – The Green Jobs strategy that emphasised on the creation of green enterprises, green skills, green financing and general coordination of green jobs.

Touching on the elimination of worst forms of child labour, the Minister acknowledged the partnership at the Child Labour Cocoa Coordinating Group since 2010 on the Harkin Engel Protocol, which focuses on the child and not the product.

He called for US collaboration with Ghana to strengthen labour migration governance, adding that currently, there were very weak structures and systems to regulate labour migration, especially to destination countries, and clamp down on charlatans exploiting workers.

He urged the US to support Ghana in skills training; especially in information technology, engagement in exchange programmes, notably US sending more Peace Corps Volunteers to Ghana, while Ghana sends its professional nurses to the US.

Madam Palmer, on her part, assured the Minister that his requests would be given the needed attention.

She commended Ghana for publicly publishing the “Ghana Living Standard Survey”, which showed the country’s willingness to be transparent about issues.