9 Trafficked children rescued
The Ghana Police Service, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare, has led a trafficking rescue operation in Yeji.
With support from the International Justice Mission-Ghana (IJM), the operation led to the rescue and bringing to safety nine suspected victims of trafficking.
According to the IJM, four adult men and five boys were rescued, with two of the four adult victims being enslaved for 20 years.
It also said they were estimated to have been brought to work on the lake at between the ages of three and five.
“The youngest victim arrived less than a year ago and is currently five years old,” the statement added.
The statement said the suspected trafficker recruited young children to work for him in fishing on the Volta Lake, where he controlled every aspect of their lives.
“The children were not allowed to play or associate with any people outside of the suspect’s family and would be punished violently if they did,” it said.
The statement added that anyone outside of the suspect’s family who tried to interact with the children would also be subject to violence.
According to the statement, “if the children began to develop relationships with neighbours, they would be sent to more remote islands to ensure their isolation. The only movement the children were allowed was between the suspect’s house and his boat, and they were responsible both for housework and fishing on the lake.”
Meanwhile, the suspect’s own children were free to move about and attend school.
One of the victims, Boadi, 17, spent seven years with the fisherman and after being rescued, he said: “I am happy. I want to go to school and become a police officer.”
Gyasi, 17, who was forced to work for five years on the lake, said: “I feel excited I won’t work on the lake again because I want to go to school.”
Jojo, 19, who was trafficked for 10 years said he was happy to be off the lake and would be going home, adding that he had asked several times to go home but was denied.
Caimile, 18, after working for 11 years said: “I am happy I am off the lake. I never liked working on the lake in the first place. I want to go back to school.”