Last week, four boys ages 11, 13, 15 and 16, were rescued by IJM and our partners from the fishing industry on Lake Volta.
Their tasks ranged from casting nets to paddling the boats and bailing water from the boats during fishing, all the while facing abuse from the fishermen who enslaved them and prevented them from going to school. While not all the children are sure how long they have worked on the lake, some guessed it had been three to five years since they first were trafficked.
"After understanding that they had been rescued, they were happy and advocated for other children who are facing similar plight to be rescued as well," an IJM investigator shared
The survivors are in a safe shelter to receive care and education. IJM's aftercare team will be assessing the unique needs of each child, in order to create a plan for each boy to received appropriate psychosocial support as they recover from trauma.
"I am very happy I am no longer working on the lake because I will get the chance to go back to school," said one of the children.
This rescue was the first operation conducted with the police from this specific region of Ghana. Four suspects have been arrested and are waiting for trial.
"The support of the Police Command was remarkable, especially in mobilizing personnel and vehicular logistics for the operation," said an IJM Investigator.
In addition to rescuing four boys off the lake, the successful operation coordinated between the police and IJM also led to the arrest of four suspects.