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, di...
Aug 24, 2015

IOM-GHANA'S SUPPORT TO RESCUED TRAFFICKED CHILDREN

The family of 2 VoTs trying to identify their own
The family of 2 VoTs trying to identify their own

After rescuing a total of 20 victims of trafficking from the Volta Lake in the Volta Region at the end of May 2015, the victims have almost reached the end of their three and a half months of rehabilitation at the Child Protection Center. 

During this rehabilitation period, the field coordinator has been undertaking various field trips to trace the families of the 20 rescued children, who are made up of 19 boys and 1 girl. IOM strongly believes in upholding the fundamental right of children to grow up in a family environment and will make every effort to reunite the children with parents or family members, as long as they are deemed capable of looking after the children in a responsible manner.

These tracing activities have not been without challenges relating to bad roads, relocation of families, wrong addresses, bad weather, etc. Out of the 20 children, the families of 18 have been successfully traced and the children will be reunited by the beginning of the next academic year, so that they can start attending school in their home communities. The families of the remaining 2 are still being traced. If the need arises, IOM will work with Social Welfare to find foster parents. Once the family has been identified, the field coordinator counsels the family on their responsibilities towards their children. Before being reunited with their children, the parents will sign a social contract including a commitment not to re-engage in trafficking. 

Thanks to the generous support from donors like you, the 20 rescued children have now almost completed a happy and comfortable rehabilitation period, and will soon be reunited with their families who have been successfully identified.

The team continuously looks forward to more support from kind donors like you to enable these victims to benefit from a minimum of two and a half years of reintegration and monitoring to support the children’s development and give them the best chance in life.

A family rel. (R) showing the IOM FC (L), the VoT
A family rel. (R) showing the IOM FC (L), the VoT
May 28, 2015

IOM-GHANA RESCUES TRAFFICKED CHILDREN FROM THE VOLTA LAKE

Rescued VoTs holding a discussion with IOM staff
Rescued VoTs holding a discussion with IOM staff

After weeks of sensitization and registration, IOM in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare (DSW)/Community Development (CD) in the Volta Region have rescued a total of 19 out of the targeted 20 trafficked children from 3 communities from April to May 2015. The 19 rescued children are made up of 18 boys and 1 girl who were all trafficked into the fishing sector; specifically into communities along the Volta Lake.

The children are between ages 8 to 17 years including siblings. On the average, they have been trafficked for 2 months to 10 years. During the time of their experiences, some of them worked from dawn till late in the night (up till midnight) amidst being fed with non-nutritional foods twice a day. Most of them were denied education even though a few of them have been to school before.

They are currently being rehabilitated at a Child Protection Centre in Accra. During an initial medical screening, it was determined that a few of the children; about 6, have blood in their urine (Bilharzia). This is usually caused by some bacteria in the lake. Further treatment will be given during a further medical screening during the rehabilitation process. One of them also have some skin infection (eczema) which if quite infectious but is receiving first aid to avoid its spread while waiting further medical screening and treatment. Thanks to the generous support from donors like you, the children are currently happy and comfortable at the rehabilitation Centre and look forward to a bright future.

The team is in the process of rescuing the remaining 1 child by end of May 2015 to make up for the targeted number.  

Rescued VoTs walking away after discussions
Rescued VoTs walking away after discussions
Rescued VoT siblings holding hands
Rescued VoT siblings holding hands
Feb 24, 2015

Pre-Rescue 2015 Assessment Mission

Speaking with community members
Speaking with community members

Thanks to generous private donations from donors like you, IOM Ghana is set to conduct a rescue in late March 2015 to free 20 children from forced labour on Lake Volta and provide them with rehabilitation and reunification support. The first step towards achieving this rescue is to assess various fishing communities along Lake Volta.

In December 2014, the Counter Trafficking (CT) Field Coordinator (FC) led the first pre-rescue assessment mission and visited a total of 9 lakeside communities over a 4-day period. Three communities were found to have child protection concerns related to child labour while the remaining 6 communities were all identified as prone to child trafficking.

The FC, in coordination with officials from the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and Community Development (CD), visited each of the communities to speak with community members and opinion leaders about the use of child trafficking victims. From these discussions it was clear that child trafficking exists but most of these children were out fishing at the time of the visit and were not expected to return until late in the evening. The assessment team also found that most of the communities they visited had no schools and bad roads, forcing children to walk long distances to school in another community. Additionally, many people living in these communities originate from three different tribes located in the southern part of Volta Region and they resettle to the North along Lake Volta to engage in fishing.

To address the child protection concerns, including child labour, observed in these communities, there is a need to provide community sensitization such as through the use of the IOM/UNICEF Child Protection Toolkit. 

The IOM Ghana team thanks you for your continued support as we finalize preparations for the rescue, stay tuned for more information in the coming months. By working together we can make a difference and help to prevent child trafficking.

Assessing the lakeside with local partners
Assessing the lakeside with local partners

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