Ghanaian actress, Lydia Forson, has facilitated the rescue of a 12-year-old boy who had been forced into child labour at Gasoekope, an island on the Volta River.
The boy, who gave his name as Emmanuel, said he was taken from his mother at Tema to the Volta Region where he was forced into child labour, together with several other children brought from other parts of the country.
Emmanuel, at a point, could not take the treatment meted out to him and the other trafficked children and therefore escaped from the village, thinking he could find his way back to Tema.
The young boy however got lost within the cluster of villages in the area and was stuck because the whole vicinity was surrounded by water. He was wandering on the banks of the Volta River when he met Lydia Forson.
The actress was in the Volta Region for an outreach programme to rescue children trafficked to the area.
She was working in collaboration with Right To Be Free, an organisation founded by Eric Peasah.
Lydia Forson explained that the boy was standing at the shore waiting for an available boat to get in when they found him.
“Our boat was the only available boat. He was afraid to tell us he was running away so he lied that he wanted a lift to the neighbouring village. He didn’t know who we were and we saw he was afraid because he was lost and didn’t want to say it.
“We took him with us and in the boat we questioned him. When we were far from the village he finally opened up a little. When we got to Kpando, he tried to escape from us, so he started panicking and wouldn’t talk.
“But we spoke to his master, reported it to the police and social welfare and took him with us. He finally started relaxing by the third day when he saw we were leaving Kpando. All he kept saying was he didn’t want to work on the water and he wanted his mum,” Lydia explained.
She said the boy is currently at the Osu Children’s Home in Accra undergoing a process to reunite him with his mother.
The beautiful actress spent three days in the region to scout for other trafficked children.
She visited villages like Gasoekope, Koala DDT, Adzaboso and Abionikope via boat for three days. She said all the children they met did not talk unless their masters allowed them to. They always had their heads bowed down and were afraid.
“This year, our vision is to rescue 20 children who have been sold or trafficked to be used for labour. The plan is to visit the villages, talk to the chiefs and ‘owners’ of these children to convince them to release the children.
“We have to make three visits per village and after that when we get the children we reunite them with their parents, and where the parents can’t take care of them we support the families. And also try to find for the fishermen alternative methods to fishing that won’t require them using children in this dangerous water,” Lydia added.
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