Recently we have had a lot of action here at Challenging Heights; the overnight operation that saved 33 children from going to Lake Volta, rescuing Kwame, the young boy rescued removed from exploitative child labour last week, and recently we have also intervened in a potential re-trafficking case.
Our Community Stakeholders Manager, who is also the Chairman of Arbitration Committee in Winneba, received a phone call from an alarmed civilian concerning the safety of a young child. Immediately the team followed up the call with a visit to the family.
The individual who called was concerned about a mother who came to traffic her child to Lake Volta. The child was a reintegrated child of Challenging Heights and does not stay with the mother but with other family members, who we learned were working to ensure the mother was not able to take him away.
We followed up the call by meeting the mother at the family house. Upon arrival the mother was not cooperative so we called the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the police. The inspector came to the house and the mother was taken to the police head quarters for further questioning.
She was informed about what child trafficking is, the criminal punishment of child trafficking, and about the hazardous conditions her son could be subjected to if he was sent to Lake Volta. After a long talk with the women and being taken to the police station she began to understand the severity of the issue. It was confirmed that she came to Winneba to send her son to Yeji with the trafficker for GHs $1,500, in order to pay for medical bills, an action that would not be followed through.
After all of the questioning and sensitization she promised not to send her child to the lake. There was also an agreement that if the boy was missing at anytime she would be held responsible and further prosecution would be pursued. The boy is now safe with family who cares for him in Winneba. We will continue to closely monitor him to certify his safety.
Not only has a child been saved from the fate of going to Lake Volta but we also see that the community is becoming more aware and more active in the safety of our children. They are taking measures to ensure that children are being protected.We see this as another proving point that many children are trafficked during the school vacation. It may be because of a trafficker’s lie or a mother’s willingness to sell their child but in either situation the truth resides that more children are trafficked while they are on school vacation.
We will continue to push for peoples awareness, sensitize communities, seek out traffickers and to get children enrolled in school until no longer are children at risk of being sent to a life of modern slavery.