Ghana: Minor siblings rescued after four years of forced labor on Lake Volta
Philip* (10) and Kobi* (8) are siblings from the Greater Accra Region in Ghana. They told our local partners that they were brought to the area four years ago by their aunt Cecilia*, who is the wife of their suspected trafficker. The boys said Cecilia offered to take custody of the children and enroll them in a reputable school. At the time, Philip was in class one, and Kobi was in kindergarten. Excited about the prospect of giving her sons a better education, their mom accepted Cecilia’s offer, and she allowed the young boys to travel to their aunt’s home.
When they arrived, the brothers were not enrolled in a reputable school as promised. Instead, their uncle immediately introduced them to the fishing industry on Lake Volta. For the past four years, the siblings have been forced to fish on the lake from 4:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m and some days additionally from 7:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m.
While they endure unbelievably harsh conditions on the lake, their cousins remain at home, sleeping in their beds. Because he is the oldest, Philip does most of the hazardous work like paddling the canoe over long distances on the lake and casts the fishing nets. The labor is extremely strenuous and dangerous, requiring Philip to haul pounds of fish and swim the depths of the lake to untangle the nets. In addition to enduring the work, the brothers receive little food or rest and are regularly beaten.
The siblings suffered under this slavery for four years until our monitoring team was able to carry out a rescue operation. Philip and Kobi were placed with trusted caregivers until they could be safely reunited with their mother soon after. The family received counseling and education about the dangers of human trafficking.
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Until All Are Free,
The GSF Team
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