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Three Boys Rescued from Child Labour and Trafficking in Ghana

ACCRA, GHANA – The Ghana police and Department of Social Welfare joined IJM on 20 June to carry out an operation to rescue three boys from trafficking and child labour victims on Lake Volta and bring them to safety.

The three boys, ages 10, 12 and 16 had been trafficked to work for fishermen on boats for long, gruelling hours. They were forced to wake at dawn and work long into the afternoon mending nets, diving deep underwater to untangle nets caught beneath the surface, and hauling in the day's catch.

During the operation, members of the community threatened to attack the rescue team. IJM Ghana's Aftercare Coordinator, Gabriel, praised the role of the police in assisting with the operation:

“The police did extremely well in protecting both the staff and rescued children. I am thankful to them they were willing to even provide us with security at the processing centre where the children were supported immediately after rescue. They showed their commitment and understanding during this operation.”

Five suspects were arrested and released on bail. Following arrest and initial court hearing, one suspect pleaded guilty to the charges of trafficking and has been sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

After he was brought to safety, 10-year-old Divine* said, “The work was hard, too hard for me. I do not want to go back there.”

The three boys have taken COVID tests and been placed in a temporary care home. They are receive proper medical care and education until their families can be traced and assessed for safe reintegration.

This rescue operation was the culmination of months of work between the IJM Ghana team, Ghanaian police and Ghana's Department of Social Welfare to identify suspected traffickers on the lake and develop a plan for bringing the children to safety.

IJM's work rescuing children trapped in trafficking and child labour on Lake Volta would not be possible without this partnership.

*A pseudonym

Stock image used with consent.

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