GHANA - Eight children rescued out of slavery in Ghana recently graduated from a course of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions. The program included group and individual counselling sessions designed to help the children learn to process the symptoms of trauma they experienced.
In May 2018, IJM Ghana and police rescued these children from labor trafficking in the fishing industry on Lake Volta. Initial assessments revealed they had experienced significant trauma which posed a threat to their healing and restoration process.
Over an eight-month period, a clinical psychologist guided them through trauma-informed counselling sessions and activities to help them find a positive approach to overcoming trauma-induced behaviors and emotions.
All eight children demonstrated high levels of resilience and were able to share their stories with strength; something that was difficult for them early on in their recovery.
The children learned about their right to be safe and protected from crimes like child labor and trafficking, and learned techniques for relaxing and coping with negative thoughts. Previously, the children reported that talking about the pain of their past would make them angry with themselves, but they are now learning to share their stories without self-reproach.
One child shared, “When I first came here, because of my experiences on the lake, I used to anger at the least provocation but through these sessions I have learnt how I can positively express my anger without hurting others in the process.”
Aftercare staff have observed their increased assertiveness and positive behavior – testament to their growing ability to overcome the trauma of their past.