By: Vera Mensah-Bediako With Katy Causey   |   Posted: May 30, 2017

Behind the Scenes: Henry Tetteh Amanor, a Ghanaian Compassion center director, explains how he and his colleagues fight trafficking in their community of New Ningo.

Protecting Children From Trafficking

Behind the Scenes: Henry Tetteh Amanor, a Ghanaian Compassion center director, explains how he and his colleagues fight trafficking in their community of New Ningo.

Written by Vera Mensah-Bediako With Katy Causey
Henry giving a young boy a soccer ball.

Henry giving a young boy a soccer ball.


“Child trafficking is a poverty issue,” explains Henry Tetteh Amanor, the director for the New Ningo Good Shepherd Methodist Child Development Center in Ghana. Henry has dedicated much of his life to child protection. This is a critical cause. Experts estimate that nearly 25 million people across the globe are victims of forced labor and trafficking. Of these victims, at least 25 percent are children.

Vera Mensah-Bediako, Compassion Ghana Field Communications Specialist, sat down with Henry to learn more about child trafficking in Ghana and his passion to protect children.

How Henry started working with Compassion

Nearly 20 years ago, I joined the Christian Council of Ghana, where I was trained in child trafficking issues and also as an advocate for children.

I love children and have three of my own, and was looking for a way to develop that passion. When I learned that Compassion International was a child focused, not-for-profit organization working with local churches, I knew I wanted to be a part of that.

The opportunity came when New Ningo Good Shepherd Methodist Church hired me as the coordinator to head the church’s Compassion child development center.

Henry Tetteh Amanor, Ghanaian Compassion center director

Henry Tetteh Amanor, Ghanaian Compassion center director.


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.

Henry holds seminars to educate community members about child trafficking.

Henry holds seminars to educate community members about child trafficking.


How sponsored children have been affected by trafficking

Two children were taken away in 2011. I investigated and found out where the children were taken. I involved the local police and within a few days the children were rescued and brought back home to New Ningo!

Thankfully, that was the only time.

How the Compassion child development center educates caregivers and youth on child trafficking issues

We do periodical caregivers’ meetings and at these meetings we train the caregivers on child trafficking and child protection.

We teach our young people about their rights and involve them in the trainings. We train them to be each other’s keeper! We teach them to look out for each other and report to me any time they suspect a child would be trafficked or abused. They have been so zealous, or even overzealous, at times. But I like it and I keep on coaching them.

I know that when these young people grow older, New Ningo will be free of child traffickers altogether.