GENEVA, Switzerland, July 26, 2020/ — “COVID-19 leaves few lives and places untouched. But its impact is harshest for those groups who were already in vulnerable situations before the crisis. This is particularly true for many people on the move, such as migrants in irregular situations, migrant workers with precarious livelihoods, or working in the informal economy, victims of trafficking in persons as well as people fleeing their homes because of persecution, war, violence, human rights violations or disaster, whether within their own countries — internally displaced persons (IDPs) — or across international borders — refugees and asylum-seekers.” (UN Secretary General’s Policy Brief on “COVID-19 and People on the Move”, June 2020)
• Most international migrants in Ghana come from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and are low-skilled workers with limited social protection, making them extremely vulnerable in times of crisis;
• Individuals reliant on cross-border trade or employment may seek the services of smugglers and their transnational crime networks to circumvent current border restrictions, exposing themselves to the risk of being exploited and/or abused;
• The most vulnerable, including survivors of trafficking and unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), require increased social protection and access to basic services from the state, including shelter, food programs, access to education and health, during and after COVID-19;
• The decline in wages and employment of migrant workers triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to cause a significant reduction in remittances and as such directly reduce the purchasing power of beneficiary households and threaten to push them into poverty;
• Migration should be mainstreamed throughout the national COVID-19 response and recovery strategy.