On September 28th, 2021, approximately 40 Marine Police personnel from the Ghana Police Service gathered to begin three weeks of classroom instruction as preparation for launching a boat patrol project on Lake Volta. Ten participants will then be selected to form the initial pilot unit that will begin patrolling the lake by boat, proactively investigating active cases of human trafficking in the fishing industry.
Up to now, there has not been an active law enforcement presence on Lake Volta. While police stations exist in towns around the lake, a multitude of inaccessible banks and islands are cut off from police assistance, creating a vacuum where human trafficking can proliferate unrestrained.
Thousands of young children are separated from their families and are trafficked from regions across Ghana into forced fishing labor on Lake Volta. Fishing is classified as “dangerous work” and unsuitable for children due to the hazards associated with the work. Many children cannot swim and are at constant risk of drowning as they are pressured to dive deep into the lake to untangle nets. In addition, the children face physical and emotional abuse, deprivation of education, and malnourishment.
The unit will work collaboratively with police and the social welfare department to rescue children identified as trafficking victims and to arrest the traffickers.