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IJM Ghana

Tens of thousands of children are trafficked into forced labour in Ghana's fishing industry. IJM Ghana works with authorities to end child trafficking.

What does child trafficking look like in Ghana?

Ghana’s Lake Volta is the world’s largest manmade lake, covering 3,275 square miles, with tens of thousands of children working in its massive fishing industry.

Children as young as three are trafficked into forced labour in the fishing industry, forced to do hard and dangerous work to earn a profit.

In 2013, we conducted an initial assessment on Lake Volta, which estimated that more than 57% of the nearly 800 children we personally observed on the lake were trafficked into forced labour.

How does IJM work in Ghana to stop child trafficking?

“Children are not supposed to work on the lake. They should be enrolled in schools so they can be educated and achieve their future dreams".

Robert*, child survivor of trafficking

*Pseudonym. Stock image.

More about the issue

An IJM assessment in 2013 indicated that more than half of the nearly 800 children interviewed were trafficked—the majority were 10 years old or younger. Victims are forced to rise before dawn to go out on the lake, diving down into the dark water to untangle fishing nets.

Drowning and other hazards are a constant threat. The children work long hours doing strenuous work, with no opportunity to go to school. One boy, rescued by IJM and police, had been forced to continue hauling nets even after breaking his wrist. Traffickers use violence to maintain their control through beatings and withholding food.

*To protect IJM clients, we have used pseudonyms, obscured some images and included photos that do not depict actual victims where appropriate. Consent gathered for all images.


Child Slavery in Ghana: Thousands of children like Godson, Gideon and Foli* in Ghana live in slavery on Lake Volta. These children are between 3 and 17 years old and working up to 18 hours a day in the fishing industry. They are paid in daily abuse and threats, and the only way out is to drown or be rescued.


Stories of Hope in Ghana

Four Boys Free, Four Suspects Arrested in Ghana
Last week, four boys ages 11, 13, 15 and 16, were rescued by IJM and our partners from the fishing industry on Lake Volta. Their tasks ranged from cas...
3 Boys Rescued in Ghana and 12-year-old Forced to Work with Malaria Now Free
In late January, IJM and partners worked diligently to rescue three young boys ages 9, 10, and 12. The children spent around seven months to two year...
Five Children in Ghana Will Spend Christmas in Freedom!
In late November, IJM and partners rescued four boys and one girl between the ages of 8 and 15 who had been trafficked into the dangerous fishing indu...
Esther's Story Podcasts
From IJM comes The New Activist. A podcast series focusing on Esther's story: a tale of a little girl's rescue from slavery in Ghana's illegal fishing...
Eight Children Rescued from Slavery in Ghana Graduate from Trauma Therapy
Eight children rescued out of slavery in Ghana recently graduated from a course of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions. The programm...
'I Am Free and I Will Go to School', Eight-year-old Rescued in Ghana
Two boys were rescued out of slavery last week by the Ghana Anti-Human Trafficking police with support from International Justice Mission. The childre...

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