A joint operation by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and the Ghana Police Service has resulted in the arrest of a group of Nigerian nationals involved in human trafficking and cybercrime activities in Accra.
The group, which comprised 47 men and 2 women aged between 18 and 34, was operating from a hideout in Accra where they lured and exploited other Nigerian citizens for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.
The EOCO said in a statement that they seized 70 laptop computers, 2 saloon cars, 51 mobile phones, 9 internet modems, and other devices from the hideout during the raid.
Further investigation and screening of the suspects revealed that 45 of them were victims of human trafficking who had been deceived by promises of better opportunities in Ghana. The remaining four were identified as the traffickers who had recruited and transported them across the border.
The EOCO said that they had repatriated the rescued victims to Nigeria where they would receive assistance and reunite with their families.
The four alleged traffickers, namely Godstine Omoruyi, Junior Nosa Omoruyi, Marvelous Omoruyi, and Evbuomwan Idowu have been arraigned before the court to face prosecution.
Human trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights that affects millions of people around the world. According to UNODC, Ghana is a country of origin, transit, and destination for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labour and forced prostitution.
The most common form of internal trafficking in Ghana is the exploitation of children in the fishing industry, especially on Lake Volta, one of the world’s largest artificial lakes. Children are often forced to work long hours in hazardous conditions, such as diving to untangle nets from submerged tree stumps.
The Government of Ghana has taken steps to combat human trafficking by enacting laws, establishing institutions, and collaborating with civil society and international organizations. In August 2009, the president appointed new members to the Human Trafficking Management Board, which oversees anti-trafficking policies and programmes.
However, challenges remain in terms of providing adequate protection and assistance to victims, as well as preventing and prosecuting trafficking offences.