The Director for Association of People for Practical Life Education (APPLE), Mr. Jack James Dawson, has revealed that a total of 10,000 children are still in bondage in fifty (50) fishing communities along the Volta Lake.
Describing the phenomena as “regrettable and shameful,” Mr. Dawson called on Ghana Police Service to enforce country’s law against trafficking and slavery in order to rescue thousands of children who are still enslaved.
He pointed out that although several measures and programmes have been initiated to avert the child trafficking menace, evidence available indicates that the situation was still alarming in some fishing and farming communities in Yeji, Buipe, Yapei, Kete Krachi, Kpando, Dzemeni, Abotease and Dambai.
The phenomenon, according to Mr. Dawson, compelled his organisation to go to Yeji, Yapei and Buipe to rescue over 400 children of school-going age who were actively engaged in worst forms of fishing and farming activities in these communities.
Mr. Dawson was responding to a question in an interview with Today on the sidelines after the Season Three winners of the MTN Heroes of Change paid a courtesy call on the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Mr. Ebenezer Asante, in Accra on Monday, June 19, 2017.
Mr. Dawson, who won an award in the 2016 MNT Heroes of Change project for rescuing 400 children from along the Lake Volta, bemoaned the lack of effective education on the harmful effects on the children being made to do menial and risky jobs.
He observed that the leaders of the country had over the years overlooked the problem of child trafficking.
According to Mr. Dawson, his outfit conducted an intensive sensitisation on child labour at targeted community through awareness programmes to educate the harmful effects of children in bonded labour and trafficking.
Through the organisation’s relationship with the chiefs, local government officials, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) representatives and other community leaders, he said, his staff members were able to obtain and disseminate crucial information on child slavery.
“APPLE is now educating some towns and villages in the Volta Region where children are recruited for menial jobs,” he said.
“We are also reaching out to fishing communities so as to mobilise traditional and government leaders to convince fishermen to release these children to their parents,” he added.
Mincing no words, Mr. Dawson warned parents to stop the habit of trading their children for money.
By Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu