Challenging Heights, over the weekend rescued 16 children from forced labor on Lake Volta. This brings the total to 23 children rescued so far this year, and over 1,000 children since Challenging Heights was established in 2003.
The children, 11 boys and five girls, who range in age between seven and 14 years have all worked in servitude for several hours a day for several years on the lake.
In all, over 70 children have been identified and profiled awaiting rescue in the course of the year 2013. The children identified all hail from Winneba, Senya, and Mfantseman areas in the Central Region of Ghana.
All the children rescued and their families will receive at least one year of support, including education and income generating programs in order to live meaningfully in their communities.
Over the past years Challenging Heights has established at least 35 Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs) across six districts in the Central, Brong Ahafo and Northern regions of Ghana. These committees have helped to prevent many cases of child abuse, including trafficking.
Working in over 40 communities, the organization has so far supported nearly 10,000 children across its programs, many of whom have been vulnerable children who have been helped to go to school. Challenging Heights has also established a modern 65-capacity child trafficking survivors recovery center, and supported over 1,000 women to undertake various income generating ventures.
Challenging Heights will like to take this opportunity to caution all fishermen who came from the Lake Volta to celebrate the Winneba Abokyer Festival that, it is an offense to traffick children for labor exploitation. Offenders risk being jailed for a minimum of seven years.
We will like to appeal to drivers and law enforcement agencies, especially those in the central and greater Accra Regions to look out for child victims on vehicles plying their business from the above areas to the lake regions. Report to the nearest police station any suspicion of incidence of child trafficking. Remember it is equally an offence to fail to report an incidence of child trafficking.