I am in Ghana this week with news to share that just can’t wait, so I’m writing directly from the field. The work you support has transformed villages where child trafficking used to be common. I’ve just seen it firsthand.
It takes time to reach Dzilakope, a remote community along Lake Volta. Our field team boarded a leaky boat Monday for a very long ride. The enormous lake looked beautiful, calm and rimmed by green hills. Long wooden boats with fishing nets dotted the lake.
This seeming serenity concealed horrific abuse: children are forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions for no pay in the fishing industry. As a member of our team explained, “I came to this work when I was a young teacher. Sitting by the lake, as a boat docked, I watched the owner beat a 5-year-old boy who had slipped and fallen. That’s when I understood the boy was a slave.”
Free the Slaves and our Ghanaian partner organizations have launched the Growing Up Free program to educate and organize villagers and engage authorities. I am thrilled to tell you that child trafficking is no longer tolerated in Dzilakope. We discovered the same thing in another village, Chantai, where five communities now work together to safeguard children from slavery.
There’s a new chant spreading in Ghana: “ALL CHILDREN BELONG IN SCHOOL!” This is how slavery ends – when traffickers are routed by mobilized communities.
Thank you for making these successes possible. I hope you will continue your ongoing support.