What child trafficking looks like in Henry’s community
Child trafficking encompasses a number of processes.
There is recruitment, where somebody will come, gather children, move or transport them to a place far away from their community, and then exploit them by forcing them to work. Sometimes the children are even sold. It is about taking children out of their protective environments and preying on their vulnerability.
The people who come to recruit and traffic children come with a lot of lies. They pretend to show interest in the welfare of the family. They promise the caregiver a lot of good things — such as enrolling the child in school and [that they] will bring them back during every vacation and send money to the family every month. But all these are not true.
Sometimes these recruiters name towns very close to the child’s community as the destination the children shall be taken to, and assure the caregiver that they could always pay visits to the child at any time. But in actual fact, they take them very far away where the child can never find his or her way back home.
On many occasions, some of these children die without their parents even knowing.
This is too gruesome. Because of my love for children and my passion to protect them, I want to be an active contributor in educating caregivers on the activities of the human traffickers so that caregivers will be aware of these traffickers and refrain from giving out their children to people they hardly know anything about.
I want to be instrumental in curbing this bad practice of child trafficking.
Why child trafficking is rampant in Ghana
Child trafficking is a poverty issue.
In my experience, this is what about 99.5 percent of parents who give their children away say. They will tell you that if they have three children who are not in school because of lack of funds and someone takes one away to be put into school and even gives you money with which you can register the other two in school, why won’t they do it?
And so caregivers give their children away for an amount as little as 300 cedis, about 78 U.S. dollars.
While human trafficking is an international problem, it affects thousands of people in Ghana across the 10 regions. It is against this background that the government of Ghana ratified and adopted international instruments to guide and protect the rights of children.
One of Henry’s most rewarding moments
I was part of the Christian Council of Ghana when it successfully carried out a pilot project on children’s rights focusing on child trafficking in select communities in the southern and northern parts of Ghana. In that venture, 182 boys working as fishermen and 40 girls in sexual servitude were rescued.
We also facilitated the production of an audiovisual documentary on the whole exercise. This documentary is being used to draw the government’s attention to the ills of child and human trafficking.
These children are currently reunited with their families and are in the process of reintegration.
How Henry educates community members about child trafficking
On my day off, I do public education on child protection and trafficking issues where I am able to reach almost the whole community. I talk to them about child protection issues and answer questions.
I also do school and church educational seminars as well, where I give talks and show films. Furthermore, I am a member of the district child panel, which deals with all child-related offenses in the district.