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...
Mar 16, 2012

Paa Kwesi -The Case of a Miraculous Transformation

Paa Kwesi in School Smiling Broadly
Paa Kwesi in School Smiling Broadly

Nine (9) year old Paa Kwesi was rescued by IOM in 2011 and has since been reintegrated with his father in a community in the Central region of Ghana.

Paa Kwesi was living with both parents in a fishing community in a fishing district of Ghana. He was just three (3) years when his father left the family and never returned. according to his father, he had to leave his family when his fishing business collapse and it became very difficult to feed his family. Paa Kwesi's mother took care of him on her own until she remarried and had to move to her husband at a mining town in the ashanti Region of Ghana. As she did not want the presence of her son to create any problems in her new marriage, she gave out Paa to a fisherman for a fee when he was just six (6) years old; he had been with the fisherman for three years until his rescue.

While with the fisherman, Paa Kwesi's usual day started at 5am and ended at 8pm. His tasks included paddling and taking water out of the canoe. He was fed only twice a day and said he felt very tired at the end of each day.

Paa whose growth looks stunted as a result of the physical pressure he was put through at a young age of six, is very happy he was rescued by the IOM team. He is currently in school (Kindergaten I) in the Central Region of Ghana; where he is performing academically well, although he had a little difficulty from the beginning.

Paa is very happy now and almost always wears a smile. His interpersonal relationship with his class mates and family members has greatly improved. it is heartwarming to see him progress from the quite and withdrawn child rescued a year ago to a very happy and open child. All these were achieved with the support of your generous donations. He would however need your continuous supports to enable him achieve his dream of becoming a medical doctor in future.

Nov 21, 2011

Never's Story--The Smiling Face of Success

Never
Never

“My name is Never and I am 18 years old.  When I was 10, I was removed from school along with my younger brother and sister and we were sent to work with a fisherman.  The work was hard and very dangerous.”

Never and his siblings had a normal life until their father began experiencing financial problems and was not able to provide for his large family.  The parents were approached by a fisherman who offered to care and send the kids to school in exchange for some work.  He offered to pay US$200 for each child, but only paid US$133 for the three.

Once in the fishing community Never worked 14-hour days. A typical started at 5am when he and other children would set off in the dark to begin a long day on the lake.  After a meager lunch, they would continue fishing and repairing nets.  Never and his siblings would return from work at 7pm.

Although they caught many fish, these were sold by the ‘master’ and were never allowed to use for their own consumption.  

“Being sick was not an option,” recalls Never.  “When we complained, they would beat us with paddles and force us to continue working.”

Never missed his family so much that he often dreamt of the day when someone would come and take him home.  Never was exploited for 2 years before being rescued.

“It was 6pm when an IOM team came on a rescue mission to the village.  If not for IOM, I don’t know how my life would be today.  Because of what happened to us, we did not behave like other kids, so IOM gave us training before we were brought back to our homes,” adds Never.

The horrific experience kept haunting him even after he returned home.  “Sometimes I dreamt of big fish chasing me in a river,” recounts Never. 

But he does not blame the fisherman who treated him badly.  “I know it is their way of doing business; sometimes it comes from ignorance.”  

He is a happy and well-adjusted teenager living with his family and currently in his last year of High School.  He believes education has changed him. He speaks English and interacts with friends and other people.

“If I manage to finish school, I will teach my younger brothers and sisters how to read and write, so that they will be like me,” he states proudly.  

Never has many plans for the future: “If I have the money, I will set up a business for my family, so that they will not suffer from poverty again.” Never hopes his story will bring rescue to hundreds of children who remain trafficked.

Jun 17, 2011

Trafficked Children

 

Dear Friend,
 
I’m writing to update you on the progress and development of IOM’s Trafficked Children of Ghana project, which undertakes the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of children trafficked for labor exploitation by fisherman on Lake Volta in Ghana. In March, we wrote about the upcoming rescue of trafficked children working under hazardous labor conditions in the fishing industry along the Volta Lake in Ghana. We are happy to report that 20 children were rescued in that mission and are now being housed at a rehabilitation center run by Ghana’s Department of Social Welfare where they will undergo physical and psychological rehabilitation and attend classes for three months before being reunited with their parents in their communities of origin. Trafficked at young ages, their experiences have left deep mental and physical marks on the children.  Upon rescue, they showed very high levels of malnutrition, stunted growth, malaria and worm infections that needed urgent treatment. These children will continue to receive critical support as they are reintegrated into their communities.
 
We would also like to share with you the news that Eric Peasah, who has been the Counter Trafficking Field Manager with IOM Ghana since 2005 will be departing this position in July. Eric’s tireless work on behalf of trafficked in children in Ghana has contributed to the rescue of hundreds of children. His support and advocacy on behalf of these children has proved invaluable to the project over the years and resulted in a legacy of rescued children who will now have brighter futures because of his efforts. While we are sad to see Eric depart, the important work of rescuing and rehabilitating trafficked children in Ghana will continue.
 
Thousands of other Ghanaian child victims of trafficking will continue to work in dangerous, exploitative conditions with little chance of escape unless funds can be raised for their rescue. Since 2002, IOM has rescued a total of 731 children with support from the United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).   However, in recent years as funding has declined, IOM has been supported by many private donations as well. IOM is now appealing for funds from donors around the world so that the Organization can continue to provide this critical support to trafficked children after September 2011, when current funding runs out.
Thank you for all you have done!
 
Best,
Erin

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