IOM continues to provide support to children rescued from situations of trafficking in Ghana, thanks to private donor contributions. During a recent monitoring visit with some of these sponsored children, testimonials were collected to raise further awareness about the plight of those remaining in conditions of forced labor. Below is an excerpt of stories from two children currently going through the reintegration process.
My name is John and I am 15 years old. I survived four years of my childhood spent working for a fisherman at Lala-Krachi in the Krachi District of Volta Region. I was trafficked at the age of six by my maternal grandmother during my stay with her. During the period of trafficking, I worked from dawn till dusk every day under harsh conditions.
Before being rescued by IOM in 2008, my fishing master used me for all activities pertaining to fishing on Volta Lake such as scooping water from canoes, carrying fish from the lake side, diving into the lake to disentangle nets, and domestic services.
After my rescue, I was enrolled in school by IOM and am currently in Basic School Class Three. I am happy to be learning in school because my performance is good. I always attain between first and fourth position in class at the end of every term. My current family situation is that, I live with my mother. She is a single parent and doing her best to cater for me at home and school through her petty trading.
My name is Michael and I am 16 years old. I was trafficked at age eleven by my mother after the death of my father. I spent two years working for my fishing master at Awate-Tornu, a village located in the North Dayi District of Volta Region. I was maltreated by my master and forced to engage in various fishing activities such as diving into the river to disentangle nets, paddling canoes, casting nets, pulling net, mending nets when torn, unscaling fish, and scooping water from canoes, until IOM rescued me in 2011.
After my rescue, I was enrolled in Basic School Class Six. I am very happy to be learning in school and my academic performance is very good. I always emerge with the first or second position in class at the end of each term and my performance has earned me school prefect.
I currently live with my mother and stepfather as my biological father passed on prior to my trafficking. My mother and stepfather do their best to support me in school. The challenge, however, is that they make very little money from their work, which makes it impossible for them to adequately take care of me and my siblings.
On behalf of IOM and USAIM, we thank you for your support of children such as John and Michael. Together we can make a difference in the lives of rescued children, so they can attain or reach their highest potential in life through a safe and dignified manner. Donations are used to provide basic essentials for children to attend school or their apprenticeship program and include school supplies, food and hygiene items.
It is only through your generous support that we can continue to prevent and curtail child trafficking in Ghana.
As we come to the end of 2013 we are pleased to share good news about the results of our child protection and child counter-trafficking campaign in Ghana. Since March 2013, IOM has partnered with six communities in the Volta Region of Ghana in an attempt to educate and raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of human trafficking and approaches for child protection. A series of highly interactive training workshops were held from September through November 2013; each starting with a community ‘Tree of Life’ mural activity and continuing with sessions explaining human trafficking and child protection concepts, the birth registration process (giving a child their identity), children’s rights and good parenting skills to name a few.
The IOM counter-trafficking team recently travelled to these communities to evaluate the success of the campaign and to acquire feedback from community members. The most highly valued training session mentioned by participants was child trafficking and the Human Trafficking Act, because many were unaware of the harsh realities faced by children after they had been trafficked. To quote one community leader, “we are appreciative of the work IOM is doing to educate the community about child protection. The toolkit will be a useful tool that we can continue to use long after your work here is done.”
The evaluation also indicated that the community remains concerned about economic hardship as many stated this played a role in decisions related to their children. In two communities, IOM was advised that as a result of new-found knowledge imparted by IOM regarding the dangers of child trafficking, parents voluntarily went to reclaim their children previously sent to fishermen.
As a result of these findings the IOM will adjust its approach to meet the needs of the communities as the remaining workshops are scheduled to take place through May 2014. In addition to this preventative approach to counter-trafficking, IOM also aims to conduct a group rescue in 2014 with the goal of rescuing at least 20 children held by fishermen on Lake Volta. This tandem approach of raising awareness and educating vulnerable communities together with direct assist is we hope a comprehensive means to address the issue of child trafficking in Ghana, together with government and NGO partners.
We hope you will continue to support our efforts as we plan for a dynamic 2014. It is only with your support that we can achieve our goal of rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of children trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, and conduct important public awareness campaigns. We ask you to consider giving to our project during this Holiday season. As a special offer, GlobalGiving will match 100% of the initial donation of any recurring donations established during the last 12 days of December (more information available on their website).
On behalf of IOM Ghana we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and thank you for your continued support and for brightening the spirits of children in Ghana!
IOM in partnership with BTCTE is please to share an update regarding the construction of a new teacher's accomodation in 2013, as part of ongoing efforts to prevent child trafficking through enhanced educational opportunities. The community of Awate-Tornu is located in the Volta Region, which has been heavily affected by the phenomenon of child trafficking into the fishing industry.
In 2012, a school block was constructed by IOM with funding support from BTCTE to allow children in the area to have access to education close to home and thereby prevent traffickers from duping parents/guardians with false promises of educational opportuniies for thier children. To ensure the sustainability of the school and to provide decent accomodation for teachers, IOM was able to embark on a new construction project in December 2012 with BTCTE to further enhance the school project.
In early November 2013, the IOM counter-trafficking team and representatives from BTCTE travelled to Awate-Tornu to monitor the progress being made and speak with members of the community. "The accomodation has made a drastic difference in the community. The teachers are now based in the community and our children are benefiting from continued learning." The further eplained that since the construction of the school block took place children have been attending lessons on a regular basis, and they would not consider sending them to another community. According to the teachers, there is also a great interest in teaching at the community as a result of the accomodation.
As we begin the season of Thanksgiving and Holiday celebrations, we would like to thank all of our donors for their support of IOM counter-trafficking projects in Ghana, and for making a difference in the lives of Ghanaian children. We are also thankful for the dedicated team on the ground working working to counter child trafficking and promote child protection.
It is only through your generous suppor that we can continue to prevent and curtail child-trafficking. We ask you to consider participating in one of Globalgiving's holiday campaigns to help us raise awareness and rescue more children. During the month of December, the top 9 organizations that raise the most funding with receive bonus awards towards their project. Additionally, if you are considering a recurring donation, those established during the last 12 days of December (and pledged for an additional 3 months), will be matched by GlobalGiving 100% on the initial donation.