“Ghana needs to step up the crusade and hunt for kidnappers until we win the fight”, the Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana, Joseph Kobla Wemakor has said.
According to him, sensitization plays a key role in solving critical problems and has proven to be the panacea in helping demystify the kidnapping phenomenon.
“We know that when people are well informed about a particular challenge, they are bound to take precaution to avert it. Therefore the need to up the game on sensitization is key to winning the fight against kidnapping”.
Mr Wemakor made this important observation while interacting with the pupils of Mempeasem Evangelical Presbyterian School on the issue of kidnapping during his visit to the school on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at East Legon in Accra.
Kidnapping which is the act of seizing or capturing someone and holding another person captive against the law and the will of the person was demystified through an interactive session with the pupils.
Mr. Joseph Kobla Wemakor informed the teachers and pupils that it is a CRIME to be kidnapped by anyone for any reason.
The entire student’s body including teachers who took part in sensitization exercise was excited about the presence of the team of volunteers from the Human Rights Reporters Ghana(HRRG) in the school and the level of information impacted to aid them to foil the attempts of kidnappers.
Beneficiaries of the Kidnapping Sensitization
At the session, over 150 pupils of the school were educated, informed and armed with information on how to detect strangers in their community, documented tactics and tricks used by kidnapper to capture children and adults. Pupils were also enlightened with visual aids that helped drive home the stress and pain their loved ones go through and why they must stay safe and obey rules on security at home, school and in their places of worship
Persons Who can be kidnapped
The need to raise alarm when they detect a strange character in the neighbourhood was also emphasized on. HRRG boss, Mr. Joseph Kobla Wemakor said
“Just as strangers can kidnap kids, family and friends could equally be used to perpetuate the crime or they themselves could engage in family kidnapping. In some instances, children or adults are kidnapped or stolen as bait to help extort money from parents. One motive of such criminals is to use victims for rituals or for economic gains among others.”
Common Lures of Kidnappers
HRRG Project Director, Mr. Wisdom Hammond who was also present at the training session explained some of the common lures of kidnappers that school children, teachers and the society, in general, should be aware of to be able to see and detect danger, act promptly to avert any danger.
In some kidnapping attempts that have been documented, kidnappers use items such as toffees and toys to lure unsuspecting kids. They sometimes sweet-talk them to make them fall for their pranks. In some instances, such strangers with bad motives engage their targets in long friendly chats before striking.
The kids were advised to only take such things from parents. They were also advised to desist from accepting a ride on motorbikes and in cars of strangers as well.
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For the teens present, the need to reveal less information about one’s self on social media was touched on as kidnappers could use the information to select them as targets and kidnap them after carefully surveying the environment.
They were advised to watch out for new persons and unfamiliar characters within their community and report to the appropriate authorities, teachers and parents without delay.
Among the pupils who benefited from the sensitization, Alice Adutwumuaa (P5) and Gideon Anaba (P1) were very outstanding in their contributions, questions and answers to the discussion to the amazement of the officers. This is an indication that projects such as this are worth the efforts of civil society organizations such as the Human Rights Reporters Ghana.
Funding Challenges of Human Rights Reporters Ghana
Currently, the organization is carrying out this important social service without funding but believes, the fight to inform, enlighten and empower children on their rights and the Kidnapping saga must continue.
Corporate organizations, Government, Philanthropists and other Civil Society Project funding Organizations should come to the aid of the Human Rights Reporters Ghana(HRRG) to be able to reach as many schools and communities as possible.
The NGO has partnered with the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Education Service(GES) to educate society until they realize a society for all without discrimination.
Organizations and well-meaning individuals who want to support this noble cause can make donations to the HRRG account with Bank of Africa New Town Branch: Human Rights Reporters Gh. Account Number 02609550007.