Survivors Speak Out: Hear Their Free Voices

Survivors Speak Out: Hear Their Free Voices

Many parents from very rural fishing villages in Ada are targeted by fishermen with boats who work north on the Volta lake mostly in and around communities in Akosombo and Yeji. The fishermen may be relatives, friends or acquaintances of the parents and they often promise many things to the -often impoverished- parents such as education for their child, good food and accommodation, as well as payments made to the parents for the work of the children. The parents often believe the opportunities being offered by the fishermen are much better than what they can offer their own child and therefore they lease the child out as a laborer who is not allowed to leave until their contract (usually 5-15 years) is served, this is how a child becomes the slave of the fisherman. Once the child is in the fisherman’s custody, the child will not be sent to school, instead they will be made to work 15-18 hours a day, be punished and abused often and for minor mistakes, be fed little, sleep in dirty quarters with many other children in the same position, and be forced to engage in dangerous work such as diving deep into lake Volta to untangle nets, and set traps. Other tasks the child will be engaged in is net mending, fish scaling, boat maintenance, carrying heavy loads of fish and other items, wielding dangerous equipment, working all hours of the day and night, being used as fishing bait, and rowing the boat. Additionally, young girls are brought into this industry as domestic and sexual servants for the boy slaves and the fishermen. The girls will engage in fish selling, cleaning, cooking, net mending, and many other chores. The girls are also often raped, and used as child brides to the fishermen, or as sexual motivation for the boys in slavery so that they will not run away. Therefore, both boys and girls as young as 3 years are implicated in this form of child trafficking.

Now some of those children have been rescued through VRF’s Trafficked2School initiative, and they are speaking about against forced child labor and slavery:

Through our Trafficked2School Community Education and School Monitoring Program the Volta Revival Foundation aims to conduct educational workshops and campaigns in hotspot communities from where children are often trafficked in the Ada district of Ghana. additionally the Volta Revival Foundation seeks to implement monitoring mechanisms in schools in the same hotspot communities through the training of both staff and students in the monitoring procedures and the evils of child trafficking to ensure more children do not get trafficked while on school vacations and breaks.