This week, police and IJM rescued five children and arrested two suspected traffickers in an operation in Ghana. The youngest child, a 6-year-old girl, told social workers that she is excited that she doesn’t have to work on the lake any more, and she wants to see her mother.
In a simultaneous rescue operation on a different part of Lake Volta, police and IJM rescued a young teenage girl who had been abused and forced to work on the lake, and arrested one suspect. Although she is around 13 years old, she had only reached the equivalent of a second grade education.
Police learned about the five children from Elinam*, an 18-year-old who had been trafficked to work in the fishing industry and was rescued in October. Investigations uncovered that Elinam had been enslaved for at least two years, forced to fish on the lake seven days a week. Elinam suffered physical abuse and was denied food if she did not work. She had attempted, unsuccessfully, to run away on multiple occasions.
The IJM team and aftercare partners will continue to work with Elinam and the six children rescued this week to provide follow-up care as they recover and heal from trauma. These arrests bring the total number of IJM and police arrests in 2018 to 30.