Dear children and present media,
The last few days I have had the honour to travel to Sweden as part of the World’s Childrens’ Prize award ceremony.
I wish that every child would have the opportunity that children here have. There are over 200, 000 children in the worst forms of child labour in Ghana. My organisation, Challenging Heights, has been able to rescue over 1000 children from slavery in the last 8 years.
I am proud of myself for overcoming childhood difficulties that nearly ended my life. I was sold, at age 6, into fishing slavery, where I worked for almost 7 years, until I escaped at age 15. I went through poverty and had no protection, no social welfare, no education, no parental care…
I am proud of myself that in the end good triumphed over evil – I came out successful; I have a master’s degree, I was a manager at a reputable international bank, have travelled the world. These achievements, although modest, I am proud of them.
But it is not every single child that has been lucky to escape in the manner that I did. The world’s attention might be drawn to the plight of thousands victims of slavery. Who, as we speak, are currently being exploited on Lake Volta in Ghana.
My life, my work, my story is testament to this great waste of talent and resource; the children who are trafficked to Lake Volta and sold into fishing slavery, as well as to children that lack protection generally. I am humbled to submit that there are many children greater than myself, whose talents are being wasted because they are subject to inhumane treatment.
Having been witness to children that are enslaved. And I have been tortured myself as a child. I have been witness to many children who have died on the lake. Who have lost their life to slavery! Forced to dive to use their small hands to untangle nets, caught and drowned! I have been witness to more children who are denied education.
All of us, must sit and agree, here and now, must agree the right to life, to be protected from torture and abuse, and the right to education must strongly be protected, and never again should any child be deprived their right to education.