While most of our children wake up and go to school in the morning, thousands of children in Ghana wake up and are sent to work as “fishing slaves” in the Volta Lake.
These children – some as young as 4 years old - are forced to perform, under the eyes of their masters, a tiresome labor. Due to extreme poverty and lack of information, some parents/caretakers give their children out to fishermen, unaware of the harsh and working conditions awaiting them.
Deprived of education and often malnourished, these trafficked children are exposed to various injuries and health problems such as bites/stings from fish, cuts, fish poisoning, bruises, abrasions, back injuries/muscle injuries, broken bones, blistered hands and feet, head injuries, burns, visual impairment and bone deformities, according to the ILO/IPEC report.
In Ghana, approximately 21.8 percent (1.9 million) of children aged between 5 and 17 are engaged in child labor with 14.2 percent (1.2 million) of the children engaged in hazardous child labor as defined by the Law, according to the ILO/IPEC report.
Children belong to a classroom. They deserve to live their childhood.
Since 2014, USAIM, in partnership with IOM Ghana and GlobalGrandparenting, has focused its efforts on rescuing trafficked children in the Volta Lake.
Thanks to our donors' generosity, we were able to rescue 20 trafficked children and provide them with the following:
- Access to healthcare services
- School supplies and books
- School uniforms
From Forced Labor to a Classroom
Enyonam* was among the 36 trafficked children rescued by IOM Ghana. Her mother, who is poor and was struggling to take care of her children, gave her away to a fisherman at the age of five. Her mother was unaware of the fate that soon awaited Enyoman. The fisherman had promised that her daughter would be well looked after and would receive an education. Sadly, Enyonam endured over seven years of forced labor working under dangerous and harsh conditions along Volta Lake.
Before being rescued by IOM, Enyonam had to work from dusk till dawn, casting and pulling nets, scaling, smoking and selling fish. Additionally, she had to help with domestic chores. Most days, she went to bed exhausted and hungry.
Shortly after her rescue, she was reunited with her mother and immediately enrolled in school. Thanks to her determination and hard work she is currently in Junior High School (8th grade). Her academic performance is excellent and she has consistently ranked first in her class. She is currently the girls’ prefect of her school.
Despite the disadvantage of missing school while she was trafficked and the economic difficulties of her family, Enyoman is determined to succeed in life.
*Names were changed to preserve anonymity