America botched the abolition of slavery in the 1860s, a mistake that has consequences for descendants of enslaved African Americans even today. Slavery was outlawed, but millions of liberated slaves weren’t allowed to build prosperous lives in freedom.
This is why Free the Slaves works tirelessly to ensure that people we help liberate from modern slavery can successfully rebuild their lives. People like Afryea* in Ghana. She comes from a family of six in a suburb of the capital city Accra. At age 15, Afryea was trafficked to to sell fish for a vendor.
Her mother, a single parent, was too impoverished to care for her and her siblings. The trafficker promised her mother that after Afryea served her for a period, she would be enrolled in an apprenticeship to learn a trade of her choice. Her mother fell for the false promises and gave her daughter away with hopes of giving her a better chance at life.
Afryea worked in servitude for 18 months and was never enrolled in an apprenticeship or school as promised.
Finally, her uncle notified a community child protection committee formed by Free the Slaves and our Ghanaian partners. These committees keep a constant watch for enslaved children in their communities. They reported the situation to the local police and made sure she was rescued along with her siblings who were also enslaved.
Afryea enrolled in a dressmaking apprenticeship in a shelter for child slavery survivors. With these skills, she will be economically independent and can even support others in her family.
As Black History Month comes to a close, and we recall the lasting impact of slavery throughout history, it’s important to remember that every month is Black History Month in the continuing struggle to bring full freedom to everyone, everywhere. Thank you for supporting our vital work.
* A pseudonym has been used to protect her identity