A five-year campaign against child trafficking has been launched by an Anglican diocese in Ghana.
The launch took place last Friday in Accra, where the diocese will build a new community shelter for children rescued from trafficking. It will also launch outreach educational programmes and take "pragmatic measures to address the root causes of child trafficking in the country," Graphic Online reports.
The Bishop of the Accra Diocese, Rt Rev Daniel Sylvanus Mensah Torto, said the new shelter would offer vulnerable children a "brighter future".
"The rescued children who would be sent to the shelter would have a new home, get access to education and be assisted to develop their God-given talent," he said.
The bishop stressed the importance of raising awareness of the issue in Ghana, and said the diocese would seek to influence "national and international policies, laws and programmes that protect children and also push for law enforcement".
He added that poverty is the "main underlying factor for child trafficking in Ghana", and the Church would be finding ways to support deprived families.
The campaign is a joint initiative between the diocese and the US embassy in Ghana. The US Ambassador to Ghana said at the launch that the US had signed a $5million agreement with Ghana to help combat child trafficking.
According to the US State Department, Ghana is "a source, transit, and destination country" for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
The 2015 Trafficking in Persons report said: "Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture. Ghanaian girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are subjected to prostitution within Ghana."
The report warned that there had been an increase in the number of girls and young women in greater Accra at risk of sex trafficking and forced labour.