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...
Mar 16, 2009

Rescue 2009 Phase 1 (Part 2)

Nadu, with Eric Peasah and the team that helped to rescue her
Nadu, with Eric Peasah and the team that helped to rescue her

These are just a few additional photos of the kids rescued in Phase 1 of the February rescue mission.

Kids rescued in Phase 1 at the transit camp
Kids rescued in Phase 1 at the transit camp
Kids at the transit camp having a meal together
Kids at the transit camp having a meal together
Aug 8, 2008

January 2008 Rescue Mission

Kwadzo Tawia having fun at the rehabilitation center during a Fe
Kwadzo Tawia having fun at the rehabilitation center during a Fe

The Counter Trafficking Unit of IOM’s Mission in Ghana rescued a group of 36 children from fishing villages in Krete-Krachi in the Lake Volta Region of Ghana this month, bringing the total of trafficked children rescued by IOM to 648. IOM’s partner NGO, Partners in Community Development Programs conducted research in Kete-Krachi and its island communities in preparation for the rescue mission and registered the children and the fishermen.

Throughout 2007, IOM identified and registered 424 trafficked children working for 800 fishermen on five islands around Kete-Krachi. Although all of these children are available for rescue, IOM’s resources only allowed for 36 to be rescued at this time. IOM usually conducts rescue missions on an annual basis, but has the capacity to rescue at least 50 children every six months if the necessary funds are made available. The children who are not rescued are under constant monitoring, and the fishermen continue to receive education on the use of children for this dangerous type of work. “We can only hope that this increased awareness will translate into better working conditions for the children waiting to be rescued,” explains Eric Peasah, IOM’s Counter Trafficking Project Manager. “These children need our help as soon as possible, so we are continuing our appeal for funding to rescue all of them.”

This latest IOM rescue mission was carried out from 19 to 22 January with financial support from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and more than 1,000 private donors.

The children were rescued in two groups and sent to the Department of Social Welfare’s rehabilitation centre in Accra. The first group of 24 children arrived at the center on 23 January, while the second group of 12 arrived at the end of January, as they were rescued from different locations. At the rehabilitation center, the children will be medically screened and treated as needed, and will undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation program with support from health professionals, social workers, psychologists and educators. They will also have access to psychosocial counseling to enable them to heal from the trauma of being trafficked. The rescued children will receive rehabilitation assistance until 15 May when they will be reunited with their families to start their reintegration process.

Among the trafficked children rescued this time is 12 year old Kwadzo who hails from Dogo, a small community near Apam in the Central Region. Kwadzo had been working in the fishing industry for five years. When he was seven years old, Kwadzo’s father took him to Abidjan in Cote D’Ivoire, where he was given to a fisherman to work for a period of two years. According to Kwadzo, during his stay in Abidjan he went fishing for long hours, ate only once a day, and was often mistreated. After more than two years, his father brought him back to Dogo. Kwadzo’s grandmother pleaded with the father to send the boy to school but instead he took him to Kete-Krachi where he was handed over to a fisherman on Lake Volta.

Kwadzo told IOM that his life in Kete-Krachi was even more difficult than in Abidjan because he often had to dive to the bottom of the lake to disentangle nets that were caught on tree stumps, a dangerous chore that he was not required to do in Abidjan.

Kwadzo, was not on the list of children to be rescued this year, but on 20 January, while on the lake around 5:30am, IOM staff saw a fisherman working with a boy. The boy was diving in and out of the water and shivering from the cold. The IOM staff approached the fisherman and attempted to negotiate Kwadzo’s release, but the fisherman refused. IOM reported the incident to the Chief of the village, who has received awareness training and is an advocate of the IOM project. The father and the fisherman begrudgingly released him the next day.

Kwadzo will be sent to live with his mother and will now have the opportunity to go to school. He says he is very happy IOM came to his rescue and he wants to go to school so he can become either a driver or a football player.

Children at work (IOM Accra, 2007)
Children at work (IOM Accra, 2007)
Aug 7, 2008

36 Children Rescued in January Return Home

All the children singing at the reunification ceremony
All the children singing at the reunification ceremony

All 36 children rescued in January this year (2008) were successfully reunited with their families on the 15th of May, 2008 and began their reintegration process. May 15th is the International Day of the Family and a particular emphasis is placed on the responsibilities of fathers towards their families. Every year, IOM Accra reunites rescued children with their families on this special day in order to highlight the importance of the family in promoting and protecting the rights and development of children.

Several stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental agencies were present at this year’s ceremony, including a representative from the American Embassy.

Before reuniting with their families, the children underwent a comprehensive rehabilitation program with support from health professionals, social workers, psychologists and educators in both the private and public sectors. They also had access to psychosocial counseling designed specifically to enable them to heal from the trauma of their ordeal.

At the beginning of their rehabilitation, the children received medical evaluations and were treated for several diseases including all kinds of sores in their mouths and on their bodies, bilharzias, malaria, anemia, and various skin diseases among others. Two of the children who had severe physical disabilities resulting from their trafficking experience were referred for further assessment at the general hospitals. One of these children suffers from a severe eye injury, while the other struggles with a badly injured spine. The first boy is undergoing treatment under the care of an eye specialist, while the second will have to have a complicated surgery in order to correct his spine.

We are currently soliciting financial support from individuals to help finance his surgery.

All 36 children rescued this year have been placed in schools in the 22 respective communities they come from. All of the children are happy to be able to go to school. One boy, Kojo Tawiah, is especially thrilled about this as he says he has always dreamt of the opportunity to study.

Currently, all 30 parents/guardians of the 36 rescued children are being assessed by social workers in order to enable IOM to support them with Micro-credit assistance.

A mother reuniting with her four rescued children at the ceremon
A mother reuniting with her four rescued children at the ceremon
Kojo Tawiah looking happy to be in school
Kojo Tawiah looking happy to be in school
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