US Association for International Migration (USAIM)

The U.S. Association for International Migration (USAIM) is the nonprofit partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the United States. As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, USAIM seeks to empower migrants. Through outreach, education, and fundraising USAIM aims to raise awareness about the reality of migration while encouraging positive action. USAIM's Mission: To broaden public awareness To support programs that promote the humane and orderly migration of people To mobilize private sector resources To work in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support domestic and international programs benefiting migrants, displa...
Aug 29, 2014

Promoting Child Protection in the Volta Region

Community youth volunteers
Community youth volunteers

IOM Ghana is encouraging youth worldwide to reflect on the positive roles they can play in their societies.

The role of youth in development issues cannot be overemphasized as they embody the strength of any society or nation. As part of IOM Ghana’s community outreach project, supported by UNICEF, IOM has involved Ghanaian youth as community volunteers in a training on child protection. The training is based on a 12 module toolkit that seeks to ensure the holistic protection of children and prevention of child trafficking in Ghana. The toolkit features topics such as community responsibility, child protection, child trafficking, children’s rights, the realities of child labour, and good parenting, to name a few.

One year ago IOM Ghana trained 21 youth volunteers selected from six communities in three districts of the Volta region of Ghana; to empower them with the requisite knowledge on child protection and trafficking issues.

In September and October 2013, toolkit sessions were conducted by these youth facilitators, supported by the IOM Counter-Trafficking staff. With a strong sense of commitment, they were able to educate over 7,389 community members (including men, women and children) in six Volta communities.

As a result of their hard work, some child abuse cases were identified and referred for assistance. These trained youth also helped some community members to voluntarily rescue their children from suspected situations of trafficking.

The second phase of this IOM project is currently underway. An additional training was held for the youth in July 2014 to review issues related to the harsh realities of child labour, trafficking laws, good parenting, and self-protection for children, among other topics.

Trained youth from the six Volta communities will conduct toolkit rollout sessions from August to October 2014, in an effort to reinforce information provided last year and to encourage community discussion of child protection and child trafficking issues.

To the youth of Ghana, especially to our community volunteers, we say thank you for your support.

We also take this opportunity to encourage both private and corporate donors to support the efforts of IOM Ghana to promote child protection and prevent child trafficking. By working together we can make a difference and help to prevent child trafficking.

Community sensitization on child protection
Community sensitization on child protection
May 29, 2014

Former Child Labour Victim Shares her Story

Abranvi at school
Abranvi at school

Abranvi*  was among a group of over 100 trafficked children rescued by IOM in 2005. She survived over three years of her childhood forced to work for a fishing master at Yeji in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana,  along Volta Lake .

 

Abranvi and her elder sister were both trafficked by their parents for economic gains at an estimated age of nine (9). While she was forced to work on Volta Lake she endured very hazardous conditions until she was rescued by IOM and reunited with her father in their community in the Volta Region.

 

Before being rescued, her fishing master used her both on the lake and for domestic services. Her typical day on the lake was from 4:00am to 11:00am and then from 4:00pm to 9:00pm. There were instances when she faced storms on the lake which got her so frightened that she said ‘ I was just lucky to have escaped without drowning.’’

 

After her rescue, she was enrolled in school by IOM .Through determination and hard work; she is currently in Senior High School, Form Three, and is writing her West Africa Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) hoping to complete this by the end of May 2014.

 

With IOM and her father’s support, her academic performance is very good. IOM is hopeful that Abranvi will receive high marks on the WASSCE to allow her to continue her studies at the tertiary level and pursue her dream of becoming a professional journalist in the future.

 

Message by Abranvi during a recent monitoring visit with her ‘’I am so grateful to IOM for rescuing me and enrolling me in school. I’m happy to be in school. May God bless you’’.

 

*Please note the name has been changed to protect the identity of the child.

Abranvi at home
Abranvi at home
Feb 26, 2014

Testimonials from trafficked children

John and his mother receive IOM in-kind assistance
John and his mother receive IOM in-kind assistance

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.

Michael feeds his goats after school
Michael feeds his goats after school

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