This broken trust, she said, has pushed children especially the girl-child to become targets of human traffickers who through various platforms have lured girls into various vices and kidnapping.
Dr. Bernice Adiku Heloo who spoke to journalists during the International Women’s Day celebration noted that social media has become a very powerful medium for traffickers and kidnappers to lure girls.
According to her, parents are also failing in their roles as providers for their girls who go out in search of attention from strangers they meet on social media who promise them love and financial support. She stated that issues confronting women are very enormous but recent kidnappings of girls have left women in sheer terror.
The Hohoe MP noted that kidnapping is not as rampant as in Nigeria where Boko Haram has gained notoriety for it but stressed such crimes start very slowly before assuming national and international dimensions.
She lamented President Akufo-Addo’s failure to mention the recent kidnapping of girls in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and stressed this should be at the forefront at all times of our national discourse.
She said, “Finding the girls where ever they are should be a national agenda. Unfortunately, publicity on the issue has gone down with concentration shifted to vigilantism.”
Hon. Bernice Heloo, however, argued that the girls could not have been kidnapped if they had adhered to acceptable traditional social norms, which discouraged girls from socializing with total strangers for any reason.
“Girls cannot be kidnapped while in their bedrooms. This happens through meeting strangers on social media like Facebook, instagram, twitter and whatsapp among many others.”
She lamented that the situation is worsening by the day because parents have shirked their responsibilities of parenting and providing for their children financially.
She disclosed that trafficking and modern-day slavery exists in different forms in Ghana involving both men and women but stressed females tend to bear most of the brunt of this inhumane activity.
“These girls and young women are trafficked to foreign lands where they work in very dreadful environments and odd hours with very little benefits.”
Trafficking, she said, has become huge business and stressed though slavery itself does not exist in Ghana in the form being reported in the international media; debt slavery is becoming very prominent in the hinterland.
A victim of circumstance of debt slavery, one Hoyo Kudjo, narrated how she was compelled to offer her 8-year-old son for GH¢150 to a fisherman who overworked the boy to the point of death.
According to her, through the benevolence of Hon. Bernice Heloo, the boy was eventually rescued and is now attending school.
She disclosed that there are many women going through her experience who for various reasons including poverty and ill health, are compelled to offer their wards in exchange for some money to take care of themselves.
She appealed to government to step in and help these women in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty as Hon. Bernice Heloo has been doing over the years in communities along the Volta Lake.