The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ghana launched a campaign in Sunyani on May 25, 2022 to help prevent irregular migration.
Dubbed “Waka Well, Fa Kwan Pa So”, i.e., using the right process to travel, also aims to avoid the exploitation of irregular migrants by empowering young people in the Bono and Bono East regions to make informed decisions by matter of migration.
The occasion brought together returning irregular migrants, the Ghana Immigration Service, civil society organizations and youth groups, among others.
In Ghana, the campaign targets the Bono and Bono East regions due to the high number of returnees from these regions.
According to the IOM, 52% of the more than 18,000 Ghanaians who returned from Libya during the 2011 crisis came from the former Brong Ahafo region.
Again, an IOM study conducted in Techiman and Sunyani in October 2021 indicated that 19% of people are aware of the dangers of irregular migration but still believe that migration is the only way to improve their lives. life.
Most of the study respondents between the ages of 15 and 35 use social media to get information without knowing whether the information is accurate or not.
Launching the campaign, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission Abibatou Wane said the campaign, with the support of the Migration Information Center in Sunyani and other stakeholders, seeks to address these and other migration-related issues to encourage safe migration and public security. action to end exploitation and human trafficking.
She said young people are key to many of their interventions, as the number of deaths, exploitation and abuse during the migration journey is at record highs.
“It is more important than ever to promote safe and informed migration. Raising awareness of the risks of irregular migration, the regular channels available and the opportunities, allows migrants or potential migrants to make informed decisions, know their rights in the process and possibly identify alternative actions,” he said. she said, confident that the Waka campaign is timely.
The campaign, she said, is also a platform to help young people get information when they want to migrate, such as how to get their passports and information about embassies, and most importantly, know what they have locally, in terms of training, scholarships, jobs, etc.
Abibatou Wane said IOM would continue to work with the government through CSOs to improve the situation.
She, however, stressed the need for government and the private sector to partner together to provide opportunities for young people, while providing needs-based education with the aim of preventing irregular migration.
She also urged young people to seek information on migration and local opportunities on the campaign’s online portal – WAKAWell.info/Ghana.
Sunyani resident Richard Armah emigrated to Libya through irregular means in 2017 and nearly lost his life there.
“I worked at the Fiapre toll in Sunyani before deciding to travel abroad via Libya. In the middle of the trip, we were kidnapped and tortured. Gasoline was poured on my legs and set on fire. Only three of us, out of nine, survived,” he recounted his ordeal.
He said he was misinformed and he could have used his money to trade in Ghana and continue to live a comfortable life, thus advising young people to use the right path if they have to travel, otherwise they might not survive the risk.
Dormaa East Chief Executive, Emmanuel Kofi Agyeman also called on young people to explore the many opportunities in their communities as the government continues to develop the local economy to create more.
IOM’s campaign is also focusing on other West African countries, including Nigeria and The Gambia.