An additional 22 children that were recently rescued from labor trafficking are now here at the GMAD home are getting their childhood back, their potential back and their dignity back. They are also attending school, many for the first time in their lives.
Approximately ⅕ of children working in the fishing industry in Ghana are six years old or younger and more than half of all children working on southern Lake Volta were trafficked into forced labor (International Justice Mission). We are grateful that our 22 survivors are now here with us at GMAD.
What is child labor? According to the International Justice Mission, child labor is “work that deprives children of their childhood, potential, dignity, and that which is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that deprives them of the opportunity to attend school.”
It has been a beautiful things for us to witness our recently-rescued children have a childhood again. Things like doing crafts, reading books, playing soccer, singing and dancing are things that they haven't had the chance to do for a really long time. During their interviews with our social workers, almost all of them have mentioned how much they love to play and we are happy that we can offer that for them here at GMAD.
Often times when we read stories of children being sold by their parents into child labor we can’t comprehend how they could do that to their children and to their family. While parents are complicit in handing their children over for even 25 USD, parents often think they are doing the best for their children.
Many times they are only able to provide one meal a day for their child, so they take comfort in knowing that their child will at least be fed two meals a day on the fishing boats. They also believe that learning the trade of a fisherman at such a young age will be more valuable to them than an education.
With the proper intervention and education from the Department of Social Welfare, the Ghana police service and our GMAD social workers, our children can be successfully reunited with their families. In all societies and in all conditions, there is no better way to raise the next generation than a family. We provide vulnerable children with a place they can call home as we work to reintegrate them with their biological family or to place them in a new family. We preserve families and make a sustainable difference by providing a path to self reliance through shelter, life skills, education and medical care. That is our mission.