"I am only used as cheap labour"

"I am only used as cheap labour"

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Rescue missions

In the east of Ghana lies Lake Volta, the world’s biggest man-made lake. At a glance a beautiful lake, but it contains an ugly and shocking truth.
Going to the lake you will see hundreds of children working; peddling, bailing water, fishing, diving to disentangle nets. They are sold or given away by their families, brought into a strange and often hostile environment, exposed to dangerous and unhealthy situations.
The children, some only 4 years old, are at the mercy of a master (fisherman) who treats them as cheap labourers who can be maltreated. Because the child has little value to his master, there is no necessity to clothe or feed him properly. They have no access to health care or education and work for very long hours which at times is very dangerous. A lot of child slaves witness the death of others, who are sometimes their friends.

“All the time I was working on the lake, I was aware that I could die too, at any moment.”
(Kwaku, rescued from child trafficking in 2009)

Poverty, ignorance and lack of education can be seen as the three most important reasons why child labour and child trafficking in Ghana exists.
The rescue team of Pacodep makes it his mission to rescue victims of child trafficking/ child labour and provide tailored tuition/ lessons to victims who have no early childhood education. Being on the lake they simply approach canoes and try to communicate with the master and his child slaves; trying to build some kind of a relationship and educate them about the law that forbids child labour. When a fisherman, after some time of negotiation, is willing to give up his little slaves, Pacodep takes the children with them. The next step is to trace the family and to make sure the child will be safe and taken care of.
George Jr: “It’s not good to set free the children while using force. The next day this master will have new slaves and hide them, so we cannot trace them anymore. With our approach at least we know where the children are and we can continue our dialogue to convince the fishermen to give up using children.”

The approach of Pacodep has proven to be successful. The organisation rescued over 500 children and educated over 1000 fishermen in 35 communities since its inception in 2003.

George Achibra sr, the founder of Pacodep appeals:
“These children are in darkness, let us give them light.
They are not been heard, let us give them a voice.
They are in chains, let us free them.”

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