Clamp down on unlicensed recruitment agencies

  Mr Laud Ofori Affrifah (left), Asst Commissioner of Immigration interacting with Mrs Sylvia Lopez-Ekra (right) at the workshop in Accra. Picture: PATRICK DICKSON

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has called on the security agencies in the country to clamp down on the activities of unlicensed recruitment agencies who deceive people into travelling to the Middle East and European countries in search of greener pastures.

According to the IOM, the phenomenon has led to the exploitation of many Ghanaians who usually pay huge sums of money to such recruitment agencies only to be duped in the end.

The Chief of Mission of the IOM, Ms Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, at a workshop on migration in Accra yesterday, called on the security agencies and all stakeholders to act with despatch to deal with the situation.

Recent statistics released by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) show that over 2,000 Ghanaian women departed to work in the Middle East between September 2014 and January 2015. According to the statistics, 350 of them had since returned, while a lot of them were still being abused and exploited.

False advertisements

Ms Lopez-Ekra said there had been a lot of social media and outdoor advertisements in parts of the world, especially Ghana, where some recruitment agencies who were not licensed usually succeeded in deceiving people that they would facilitate their travel to the Middle East to work.

That, she said, was inappropriate, adding that the IOM had specialised agencies for recruitment of persons who desired to work outside Ghana.

"We have realised that there are a lot of advertisements and posters in town about recruitment agencies. We want to put on record that such agencies have not been licensed by the IOM to engage in recruitment exercises and so the public should be wary of them.

The police and the other security agencies must up their game in order to clamp down on the activities of these recruitment agencies," she urged.


About the challenges that persons who deal with unauthorised recruitment agencies or agents go through, Ms Lopez-Ekra said a lot of the victims were usually abused and exploited and the women in particular were sexually assaulted.

She advised interested people  to visit the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for such information, indicating that a list of the licensed agencies would soon be published in the media.

Ms Lopez-Ekra said there was the need for all governments to collaborate and find a lasting solution to the problem of illegal migration.

Commitment of government

A joint statement by seven ministries and institutions, read at the ceremony by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Sammy Longman Attakuma, said the seven bodies had expressed their desire to collaborate effectively to ensure that the rights of citizens who travelled to any of the European or Middle East countries were protected.

"Recognising the numerous challenges arising as a result of migration by Ghanaians for domestic work, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of Interior, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Police Service, Employment Ministry, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the IOM, do reaffirm our commitment to the promotion and protection of the rights of all vulnerable Ghanaian migrants," Mr Attakuma said.

Published by GWS Online GH : 2016-12-18

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