Two persons have been arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle children of various ages from communities in the Upper East region to parts of the southern sector.

A Bolgatanga-based local musician, Abaane Akagaam aka Guy One, 34, and Abaane Akatari Christiana, 31, were arrested after the bus on which they were travelling was intercepted on its way to Tamale.

According to the Northern Regional Police Command, the Accra-bound Metro Mass Transit (MMT) bus with registration number AS9908Y was carrying these children whose ages range between two and 18.

Upon a tip-off, however, it was intercepted on the way and taken to the Regional Police Headquarters where the victims were screened and about 30 were said to have been trafficked.

The two persons were subsequently picked up to assist in police investigations while plans were being made to return the children to Bolgatanga.

Some of the children who spoke to DAILY GUIDE claimed they were visiting their relations in Accra but could neither provide the names nor contact numbers of those relations.

Others categorically told DAILY GUIDE they were going to work in parts of the south to enable them fend for themselves.

All the trafficked children were of school-going age in the region, but were travelling at a time schools were not on recess, giving cause for concern for officials of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU).

DAILY GUIDE investigations revealed that the number of trafficked children could rise when Junior High Schools go on long vacation this term.

Most of the children travel with or without the consent of their parents, sources said.

The Regional Coordinator for DOVVSU, ASP Stephen Tetteh, told DAILY GUIDE that this particular season was the period most children were trafficked to the south, calling on operators of bus stations and the GPRTU to assist the police in curbing the practice.

According to him, only the traffickers could tell what they were using their victims for, warning that anyone caught attempting to traffic kids would face the full rigors of the law.

A research by the African Centre for Human Development (ACHD), an international NGO, revealed that trafficked children were sold between GH¢60 and GH¢100 across the country.

"Trafficked children are brought to the market and sold as commodities, especially at Agbogbloshie in Accra and other centres in the Volta, Eastern and Northern regions," Wilbert Tengey, ACHD Executive Director said.

He noted that the trafficked children are used as domestic servants, cocoa plantation labourers, street vendors and porters in the fishing industry while some engage in prostitution.

Mr. Tengey disclosed this at a forum for students of Senior High Schools (SHS) on Human Trafficking organized by Enslavement Prevention Alliance of West Africa (EPAWA), an NGO, last year.

He said human trafficking could be fought more effectively if government strengthened existing laws, noting that currently, the trafficking of children and women through Ghana for forced labour and sexual exploitation remained a major problem.

Mr. Tengey noted: "It is time government showed a firmer resolve in tackling the problem. There is no doubt that trafficking violates panoply of rights guaranteed under the 1992 Constitution".

Source: Daily Guide