Last week brought high praise for our program to combat child trafficking in Ghana. It came directly from the village chief of Lolonya in the Greater Accra Region. He said our “Growing Up Free” project “has been a blessing for this community and for the children.”
The chief’s comments came as a Washington delegation from the U.S. State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) visited the village to learn how the program they fund is working on the front lines. Lolonya is one of 34 villages included in the Child Protection Compact between the U.S. and Ghana governments.
J/TIP Deputy Director Joel Maybury, Program Officer and Child Protection Compact Partnership Programs Team Lead Christy Gillmore and U.S. Embassy Political Officer Lara Talverdian met with a wide range of local leaders. This included the village’s Community Child Protection Committee and patrons of the school’s Child Rights Club. They reported seven children have been rescued to date. The children are in various stages of rehabilitation and reintegration to the community.
This success has been noticed by nearby villages. “Now we get invited to other communities to speak to their members on child trafficking and child protection,” one committee member noted.
Community radio programs in Lolonya have been including child protection messages about three times each week. “The broadcasts spark a lot of discussions and people come asking questions on child trafficking,” said one village leader.
The visiting J/TIP team members were impressed by the community effort. They commended villagers for coordinating their work closely with social welfare authorities, and for venturing into other communities to spread awareness.
Learn more about our work in Ghana, including inspiring portraits of children freed from slavery, on our Ghana program webpage.