shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt shaper twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate Group-35 star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search Close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love new-tab equalizer

Ghana: Combatting Child Slavery and child Trafficking

Many children are enslaved in the fishing industry

In Ghana, children as young as three are enslaved in the fishing industry, forced to do hard and dangerous work to earn a profit for their masters. Ghana’s Lake Volta is the world’s largest manmade lake, covering 3,275 square miles, with thousands of children working in its massive fishing industry.

An IJM assessment in 2013 indicated that more than half of the nearly 800 children interviewed were trafficked—the majority 10 years old or younger. Victims are forced 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. They work long hours doing strenuous work, with no opportunity to go to school. One boy we rescued had been forced to continue hauling nets even after breaking his wrist. These children can expect no compassion from their masters, who maintain their control through violent 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.

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 slaves.

Our leadership team mobilised to Ghana in September 2014 to launch the field office -- IJM's first office in West Africa.

More about the issue

lorem lorem

2:32

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.

lorem lorem

5:28

The Deep Place: One small boy. One huge lake. Foli* was a slave. Immerse yourself in his story.

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...
lorem lorem

Help survivors of violence.

You can send help to those recovering from abuse.
You Can Send Rescue Today.

When you give a gift today, you’ll be fighting slavery, violence, and injustice across the globe. Together, we can end slavery in our lifetime.

You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and see their abusers in court.

Login

Donor Portal

Review your giving, tax statements and contact info via the IJM Donor Portal.

please sign in
Email Sign Up
Get updates from IJM on stories from the field, events in your area and opportunities to get involved.
sign up