Ghana

Combating Child Slavery

Ghana’s Lake Volta is among the world’s largest man-made lakes, covering 3,275 square miles. Thousands of children work in its massive fishing industry – and many of these children are held in slavery1. A July 2013 investigation conducted by IJM estimated that as many as 60% of the nearly 800 children we observed on the lake may be slaves. These children are abused and malnourished; their work is dangerous; and drowning and other hazards are a constant threat.

Though this form of slavery is brutal, there is hope. The Ghanaian government has expressed its serious commitment to addressing slavery on Lake Volta, and is eager to employ a proven model to combat slavery on the lake.

We are ready to help end slavery in Ghana.

What We Do

RESCUE VICTIMS

We will support law enforcement in finding children being held as slaves, and will work with Ghanaian police and anti-trafficking forces to conduct rescue operations and ensure survivors’ immediate needs are met.

BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE

We will support law enforcement to collect evidence, and public prosecutors as they take perpetrators to trial.

RESTORE SURVIVORS

We will help survivors heal from the trauma and reintegrate them into their communities by working with their families and partners to ensure that they can live safely and sustainably.

STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEMS

We will equip Ghana’s anti-human trafficking unit and law enforcement agencies to investigate and respond to child trafficking, and strengthen the coordination between law enforcement and social services that is essential to the successful prosecution of traffickers.

“You could go to Lake Volta and see many signs of poverty and deprivation …but what is much harder to see is the profound violence and oppression heaped upon the thousands of children trapped as slaves in the fishing industry. We are ready to work with our government and non-government partners in Ghana to bring more light to what’s hidden, and to end this form of slavery.”

– Philip Langford, Vice President of Regional Operations, Africa

Our Progress

  • Our leadership team mobilized to Ghana in September 2014 to launch the field office – IJM’s first office in West Africa. Learn more »

  • In 2013, we conducted an initial investigation on Lake Volta, which estimated that nearly 60% of the nearly 800 children we personally observed on the lake may be slaves. Learn more »

Our Team in Ghana

ACCRA, GHANA

ESTABLISHED 2014

Focus

FORCED LABOR SLAVERY

Field office director

Will Lathrop

Factsheet

IJM Ghana

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1Ghana Child Labor Survey 2003, Ghana Statistical Service Study