Unsafe Migration, Trafficking In Persons (TIPs) & Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) Prevention, Care and Support Program

Trafficking in person and worst forms of Child Labour are modern-day slavery, threatening the dignity and security of millions of people throughout the world. These occurrences are phenomenal and   extremely complex and therefore requires comprehensive and well-coordinated responses. Forced migration intersects with human insecurities and is forcing increasing numbers of people to leave their homes and become susceptible to exploitation.

International traffickers also use Accra as a transit point to Europe and the Middle East.  Young girls are trafficked to both the Middle East and Europe as domestic workers and for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. While all trafficking involves migration, not all migration is trafficking. Many people, males and females voluntarily choose to migrate. If such migration is not accompanied by coercion or deception and does not result in forced labor or slavery-like conditions, it is not trafficking. The boundary between migration and trafficking is not always clear. Even when there is an element of deception present in migration, it is not recognizable as trafficking until the destination is reached and the deception is revealed.

Children are trafficked for labor in the fishing communities, farming (cocoa, plantain), and mining industries, as domestics, porters, street hawkers, shop assistants, fare collectors, and truck pushers, as well as sexual servants and prostitutes. Much of the recruitment of children is done by professional recruiters with parental consent, who sometimes are paid in advance or promised regular stipends for the services they render. These children, especially those engaged in farming, mining, and fishing, are subjected to the most dangerous working conditions, often injured, and sometimes killed as a result of their employment.

Although numerous agencies are involved in the fight against trafficking and several legislative initiatives to address trafficking, the efforts are uncoordinated and unfocused. Through the varieties of interventions of this program, it is anticipated that, reintegration support services such as provision of psychosocial and income generation initiatives and effective and efficient referral and networking with state and non-state actors will play a catalytical role for change. The intervention will also build upon what has already been done, what is ongoing and future initiatives in the prevention, rescuing and rehabilitation continuum of care and support assistance for persons who have lived experiences in the unsafe, trafficking and worst forms of child labour in the migration discourse analysis in the country and beyond.

The program architecture is based on the understanding that unsafe migration, TIPs, WFCL and survivors service initiatives programs use a multi-stakeholder approach which is more successful and their impact more far-reaching. Centre for Development Initiatives (CDI) program   offers, partners and stakeholders unique opportunities to map and network with over 25 civil societies with whom CDI implemented the 7 years Ghana Strengthening Accountability Mechanism (GSAM). This was done in partnership with a Consortium of Civil Societies led by CARE International with funding support from USAID that increased local government transparency, promoted effectiveness and efficiencies in development initiatives that result in better outcomes in communities and institutionalized social accountability systems in the 100 local government establishments that participated in the program.

The overarching objective of the program was to work collaboratively with other service providing organizations and enforcement agencies across the governance structures of the country to deepen prevention, rescuing, rehabilitation and reintegration services for persons who have lived experiences through Civil Society, Community and Governmentally appropriate Multidisciplinary program initiatives.

Other initiatives of CDI’s strategy include, providing technical assistance and training for victim service organizations regarding standards or practice, understanding victim needs, identifying gaps and resources, safety, case management, and development of referrals.

The program therefore, seeks to contribute to ongoing efforts to strengthen prevention, rescuing and reintegration support service policy coherence on migration in general and more specifically, unsafe migration and development, and to mainstream migration within communities, regional and national and local economic development and poverty reduction strategies.

This is important because, where local authorities, civil society organizations and other altruistic organizations are at the frontline of providing services to returned migrants and their families – especially within the context of rural to urban migration – national governments should ensure that revenues being shared so as to enable local authorities and these entities to cope with that task.

Secondly, it is also important because, the drivers and impacts of migration are often most strongly felt at the local level, be it in terms of effects on the local labour market, the size and demographic of the local population, or the need for public service provision.

Through  the creation of platforms on matters of  safe and un safe migration, prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration assistance,  ensuring that, through an established  quarterly platform  for practitioners   to share good  practices, advance knowledge  through  lessons learned  and facilitate appropriate linkages and synergies between government, local authorities and civil society interventions  that will lead to better outcomes for children, families and survivors of unsafe migration and TIPs.

The expected overall objective of the program is to contribute to strengthening preventive efforts and impact mitigation of survivors of unsaved migration and trafficking in persons with a view to better integrate their actions within a wider development agenda.

The specific objectives are as follows:

  • To provide reintegration and post-integration support services
  • To support, develop and reinforce capacities of civil society organizations and local authorities to design and implement migration and development initiatives;
  • To facilitate the linkage of activities by civil society organisations with development agendas at local, regional, and national levels to further their development impact and
  • To facilitate partnerships through enhanced networking and knowledge sharing among migration and development practitioners, including governments for effective and efficient reintegration support assistance.

Our services:

The foundational issue as to who designs prevention or victim assistance programs can jeopardize outcomes regardless of how the remaining steps in program design (and implementation) unfold. Given the complexity of the problem, it has to be addressed from various angles at the same time and build up a team/network/mass of actors from different sectors playing the best role suited for them is vital.

In collaboration with state actors, Police, Immigration, Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence and Victims support secretariats and CDI’s 25 Civil Society Organizations who constituted the CSOs consortium to implement the Ghana Strengthening Accountability Mechanism (GSAM) from 2015- May,2022 with funding from USAID led by CARE International, our service deliveries are designed as follows:


Working with trafficking in persons, forced and unsafe migration, entails and encompasses many facets that include how clients can overcome  trauma, recover from the experiences, and be reintegrated into their families, communities, the workforce and other mainstreams of society.

In the case of trafficking and Worst Form of Child Labour and because rescuing of victims is a process and is best done through teamwork, our approach is partnering with the government agencies such as the police who have the legal backing to do rescuing working under the Human Trafficking Law of Ghana. As partners and commercial drivers as well as the local assemblies with whom we collaborate with report cases to us, we do our own investigation before liaising for the appropriate action. We have expertise provided by our social workers in the development of planned interventions as part of the rescuing objective of helping them escape abusive situations and recover from physical and psychological trauma as the first step.


Making returned migrants and those rescued from WFCL and trafficking Rebuild their lives in order to enhance their problem-solving and quest to an independent living is an important aspect of our reintegration objective.  This we deliver these mutually reinforcing reintegration assistance through the provision of psychosocial support, effective and efficient referrals to access state and non-state social support services including National Health Insurance, Livelihood creation and strengthening opportunities such as business and entrepreneurial development training and credit for start- up capital depending on individual case assessment and case management plan.

Ownership is an important aspect of both rehabilitation and reintegration support assistance to persons who have experienced unsafe migration out of Ghana particularly to work in Europe and other parts of the world. We therefore strive to actively involve families, and communities support systems such as faith-based organizations and other recommendations from the clients important to make in the creation and strengthening of ‘ownership’ a central pillar of everything we do, both in terms of direct assistance and in less direct terms through sharing and communication.

In the case of survivors of worst forms of child labour including trafficking, our immediate attention beyond health and psychosocial support after case assessments, is getting one or both parents of the child into a situation where they can earn enough to support their families. This is the key to strengthening the family’s ability to survive without child labour and the trafficking which is potentially linked to it. This we do through effective referral of affected persons to other likeminded organization that have the requisite facilities in the form of a shelter, and track record of providing appropriate vocational and/or entrepreneurial and business development skills training in order to equip them to avoid being prone to re-trafficked in the future. We acknowledge that each victim is unique and should their rehabilitation plans. While some may require vocational training, others may need remedial education and therefore, we prefer the provision of options for their future.

Prevention through Awareness Campaigns

Migration includes movements of many kinds, such as people leaving their country of origin as economic migrants, refugees and family members of migrants. From the migrants’ point of view, aiming to improve their conditions of life for themselves and for their families, is a powerful motivation for migration. Migration always entails some risk, but states’ restriction of legal pathways for regular migration and stronger border controls have made these movements more dangerous for those on the move worldwide.

A move to another country is, for most, a life-changing decision that can be motivated by a range of factors. People may decide to migrate for the dream of a better life with better jobs, better schools, political stability or simply for a new life in a new environment. People may be ‘pushed’ away from their community of origin by conflict, natural disasters, lack of decent employment, high crime levels, destructive relationships or poor educational options, to mention some. For some, however, their experience may become one of trafficking in persons. Criminals exploit the human desire to improve one’s lot in life, and generate vast profits from the exploitation of victims in myriad ways.

Our awareness raising campaigns are carefully targeted to achieve for example, a multi-pronged outreach to communities with reported cases of unsafe migrants and rescued trafficked survivors by governmental actors such as the Ghana Immigration Service, Human Trafficking Secretariate, the Ghana Private Transport Unions, the Ghana Police Service, Department of Social Welfare and Civil Society Organizations.

We use culturally relevant and cost-effective materials   and learning approaches such as drama through existing social and community networks and forums, provision and facilitation of access to livelihood creation and enhancement opportunities.  Our prevention approaches also emphasise the need for dealing with both the effects and root causes of migration.

We strive to link livelihood creation opportunities to our awareness creation. The first is helping families and communities to understand the risks to the unsafe migration and trafficking in persons but also the risks to the family and community and the advantages to be gained by protecting the child and her/his future contribution to the family’s well-being.

The second is, getting one or both parents into a situation where they can earn enough income to support the family as a key to strengthening the family’s ability to survive without child labour and the trafficking and unsafe migration which are potentially linked to them. For a long time, family poverty and unemployment have been addressed through micro-finance programmes. These provide start-up loans to families alongside livelihood projects that generally aim to help families generate their own income, for example through new small business or a cooperative that brings together a group of families to share resources and tasks.

Capacities Development, Advocacy and Policy Influencing

We belief in policy influencing and implementation initiatives aimed at building the capacity of the policy makers at the Local Assemblies such as the select committee on Children and Women Services of the Various Assemblies in Ghana.  This includes training, and advocating effective policy measures and implementation for prevention and impact mitigation for survivors. Through the executive directors immense practice experiences in the sector in 2020, he was contracted by the Ghana Immigration Services (GIS) with funding support from the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) under the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) program to design an agenda and conduct a capacity building workshop for officers of the Migration Information Centre for Returnees who passed through the Kotoka International Airport.

The workshop was designed to enhance the capacity of the GIS and other relevant government institutions to coordinate and manage post-arrival reception services offered to returning migrants. Topics covered included: identification of some of the basic psychosocial and humanitarian needs of returnees, basic principles and techniques in counselling, conflict management and effective referrals of returnees in need of other social assistance to enhance their post-integration problems-solving and coping capacities.

Greater momentum and organization is required to accelerate the prevention and elimination of WFCL, trafficking and slavery in the country through mobilizing non-state actors and civil society organizations (CSOs) and Transport Unions. In the near future and depending on the availability of resources, it is the objective of CDI under this program, to develop a directorate on social support assistance services that can aid effective and efficient referral and serve as a planning tool for collaborating agencies. This directory will be periodically reviewed and up-dated to ensure that it considers, the scaling-up or scaling-down of members’ activities and areas of competencies.