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!