At least 42 children between ages 5 and 16, were rescued from slavery on the Volta Lake over the weekend.
The rescue operation was carried out by Challenging Heights and its international partners, Abolish Slavery Now, in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Navy and the Department of Social Welfare.
The rescued children comprised of four girls and 38 boys between the ages of 5 and 16. These rescued children were sold from communities in the Central and Greater Accra Regions, to the lake for the purposes of labor exploitation. It took the rescue team nearly two months of investigations and searching, to achieve this success.
All the children would go through rehabilitation, and subsequently be re-united with their families.
Over the years Challenging Heights has been in cooperation with the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), as well as the Ghana Police Service, with respect to rescues, policies and national advocacy aimed at putting an end to child trafficking in Ghana.
Challenging Heights works in several communities across Ghana to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate children who have been affected by trafficking and worst forms of child labor, as well as build community resilience against trafficking of children.
Last year, Challenging Heights, together with its partners, rescued 91 children made up of 74 boys and 17 girls, all from forced labour on Lake Volta. This year the organization and its partners have so far rescued over 100 children.
Since its inception in 2003, the organisation and its partners have so far rescued over 1,600 children from the Volta Lake.
President of Challenging Heights, James Kofi Annan in a statement expressed appreciation to “all those who supported this operations; the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Navy, the Department of Social Welfare, and Abolish Slavery Now, who all have stood by us in the face of the mountain difficulties.”
“We will like to take this opportunity to ask for the Ghanaian government to invest at least GHȼ15million annually, to resource the Human Trafficking Secretariat, and the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, in order for them to have the capacity to do their work, as well as enforcing the Human Trafficking Law 2005,” he appealed.
The release however, regretted that “some MPs, and other politicians, by their actions, seem to be supporting and emboldening some of the fishermen to launch attacks on our leadership, staff and rescue facilities.”
“We are therefore calling on the Police Administration to extend maximum security protection to the staff and facilities of Challenging Heights against traffickers, and their sympathisers who are presently ruffled by the rescues that have taken place.”
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