During this season of Thanksgiving, IOM Ghana is grateful to all donors and sponsors for their support. With this funding, many survivors of child trafficking have been given another opportunity to access their basic rights. IOM Ghana remembers all those children who continue to dream of the day they will escape the binds of forced labour and we honour the survivors who inspire us to do more, learn more and give more.
Currently, IOM provides direct assistance to 33 reintegrated children, who were rescued from the fishing industry on Lake Volta, with support from our partners USAIM, Breaking the Chain Through Education (BTCTE) and private donors like you. Among the most pressing needs identified by the IOM counter-trafficking team is for these children to access quality health care. Many child trafficking survivors endured years of harsh conditions working on Lake Volta; exposed to the elements, disease, and various injuries from detangling nets at the bottom of the lake .
Past experience has shown that some rescued children face difficulties in accessing health care when they fall sick. To close this gap, IOM enrols all sponsored children into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Holding their new cards the children’s relief is tangible with big smiles and a healthier happier stride.
Many more children await the opportunity to benefit from such assistance. We ask you to consider becoming a sponsor today so we can stop at nothing to ensure quality health care for these children. Tuesday 2 December is #GivingTuesday and is a great opportunity to start supporting children in Ghana.
We invite you to follow our activities on Facebook (International Organization for Migration Ghana & USAIM) or Twitter (@IOM_Ghana & @USAIM) and learn more about our upcoming #GhanaChildRescue 2015.
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.
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.
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!
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