‘Review Legal Framework on Child Migrants’
File photo: Migrant Children engaged in ‘Kayayei’ business
in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been asked to
take a second look at existing legal frameworks regarding the movement of
children within the community.
contained in the recommendations of the study, ‘Child Migration in the Context
of Free Movement.’
The study also
called for the development of innovative policies and interventions that take
into consideration the dynamics of the movement of children from one territory
to the other.
the study undertaken by a research team comprising Dr. Thomas Yeboah, Dr. Delali
Margaret Badasu, Abena Annobea Asare and, Joha Braimah, the current legal framework, policies, knowledge and perspectives
regarding free movement in the ECOWAS sub-region largely exclude the dynamics
of the movement of young people.
It said while
there were various migration-related policies to protect young people, there
was no consensus to facilitate, promote and protect the migration of young
people with respect to the dynamics of child migration.
in the whole cycle from identification, rescue, family tracing, risk
assessment, rehabilitation, care and support, return and reintegration,
Contradictions in definitions: the legal definition for a child and socio
cultural context of who is a child,” the research findings stated.
sought to find out whether ECOWAS has any framework to support children on the
move by examined the legal documents, laws and policies on migration that
directly or indirectly affected young migrants.
focused on the inter-related issues on the movement of young people, including
children within the context of free movement regime in West Africa.
examined the different migration patterns of young people and the complex
interplay of natural and demographic factors, social networks, and human
agency, among other factors.
examine the trafficking of children as a consequence of child migration and
sustained socio-cultural practices such as child fostering. Ghana is often
described as a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking,” said
Dr Delali Badasu, immediate past Director of the Centre for Migration Studies
(CMS) and a research Fellow at the Regional Institute of Population Studies,
University of Ghana.
that out of the 523 migrants rescued in 2018 by both Government machinery and
Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs), 122 were children while the rests were
Abena Annobea Asare noted that the study found
government to be working towards changing the narrative of child rescued from
For instance she indicated that 18 persons have been
convicted for child trafficking related offences in Ghana, while psychologists
and medical screening have been put in place to support rescued children.
Dr. Thomas Yeboah stressed the urgent need for the production
of accessible, credible and reliable data on children on the move as well as regional cooperation which is an indispensable ingredient
for any initiative that may be considered in this regard while national
frameworks are implemented.
and private actors must continue (or begin) to work together on this
development issue,” he added.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri