The Global Programme Director of Verité’s Forced Labour Indicators Project (FLIP), Josephine Dadzie, has called on the media not to rush and report on forced labour cases, but take time to investigate them.
According to her, media reports, to a very large extent, inform policy direction, therefore, if issues of forced labour were not well investigated before being putting out in the public domain, chances were that the problem would not be well diagnosed.
Facilitating a day’s media workshop on Forced Labour Training for Social Mobilisation of Partners against Child Labour (SOMOPAC) in Accra yesterday, Madam Dadzie explained that a case that may seem as forced labour may have several twists to it.
Meanwhile, she said, stories developed against forced labour and its related cases must be able to be tackled at the root cause of the problem through policy, further saying the media needed to first identify the indicators of forced labour, or factors that qualified a situation to be classified as forced labour.
Some of the indicators mentioned were poor living condition, abuse of vulnerability, debt bondage, deception, intimidation and threats, excessive working overtime, restriction of movement, withholding of wages, retention of identification documents, physical and sexual violence and management system failure.
Madam Dadzie said fair knowledge of these indicators would help a journalist handling a forced labour case not to just report on the matter, but probe further and farther above the surface.
According to her, one of the footprints of forced labour was child labour, where children of school-going age were compelled to work long hours or perform tasks that were beyond their capacity.
The Global Programme Director indicated that the worst form of child labour was often practiced on the farms, in the fishing industry, quarry sites, trading centres, and homes.
One issue that ensued in a debate was that child labour, per research, was mostly perpetuated by persons who are not the victim’s biological parents. However, on forced labour and human trafficking, she said the latter fed into the former, and that the two worked hand-in-hand.
Deputy General Secratary of GAWU OF TUC and Regional Coordinator Africa of the Global March Against Child Labour
A co-facilitator, Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe, reiterated that journalists must not assume, but fact-check every information they received.
In reference to child labour, he said journalists should not judge a person’s age by his or her body size, adding that body size, particularly in Ghana, could be deceptive, recommending that the stories must be well investigated before publication.
The journalists were taken through jurisdictional and International Labour Organisation (ILO) laws on labour.