By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has sent a word of caution to Ghanaians who wish to travel abroad, especially to the Gulf regions, to be very careful.
According to her, the journey and the jobs assured them are not as advertised, and that the women are made to overwork, with some of them sometimes used as sex slaves by their employers.
Taking her turn at the Meet the Press Series in Accra yesterday, she narrated some of the traumatic experiences she had come across as a Minister, since she assumed office in 2017.
In her words, she receives these reports from many of the young ladies who are victims of human trafficking as a result of following these ‘juicy’ adverts of job offers abroad, especially in the Gulf Region, almost on a daily basis.
Madam Botchwey explained that some fraudulent Ghanaian traveling agencies connive with some foreign nationals to ‘export’ young girls to them, after taking huge sums of money from these foreigners and the Ghanaian ladies.
“Almost on a weekly basis, we come across young ladies who have been trafficked unknowingly, without suspecting ill motive by the so-called agents. Some of them get there only to find out that they are not going to become what they were promised, but end up becoming slaves or maids.
“Some of them work 18 hours a day… Some of the girls have mental problems as a result, because, in some cases, they are raped every night by father, son, uncle, and then she would have 5 hours sleep, wake up after that traumatic experience and do house chores. Why do we do these to ourselves,” the Minister quizzed, almost in tears.
The Minister also advised parents not to force their children to embark on these perilous journeys, but rather seek clarity before giving them the chance.
Updating the media on her achievements over the years, she gave a chronology of how her office had erected some key consulates and strengthened the ties between Ghana and other nations, and partnered with some international organisations in an attempt to make President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s dream of achieving a Ghana Beyond Aid agenda possible.
She was emphatic that this year alone, because of the good policies being put in place, many dignitaries and tourists are coming to Ghana.
Many of them, she continued, have expressed interest to either trade or build industries and to help promote the One District One Factory agenda in the country.
This year is earmarked as the Year of Return and marks four hundred years since the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was practiced in Africa, where many Africans were shipped out of the country to be slaves in foreign lands, especially in the Americas and Europe.
The Member of Parliament for Anyaa-Sowutuom Constituency also told critics that the President’s numerous tours outside the country had yielded many results.
In the field of security and intelligence sharing, she said some American soldiers came for training with their Ghanaian counterparts, as well as the Ghana Police Service being given security gadgets by some foreign countries to aid the personnel in performing their duties.
Also, it has led to the signing of many memoranda of understanding between Ghana’s key trading partners and many leaders from the developed world, to express interest in strengthening their ties with Ghana, as well as many other international businessmen and women who would soon be establishing their brands and trade routes in the country.
She iterated that her outfit would continue to roll out other initiatives that in the end are geared towards wooing investors into the country, and to create employment for the youth.