Last Thursday, Adwoa Anderson, a native of Senya Breku, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for trafficking a twelve year old boy into slavery.
It took the intervention of Challenging Heights to rescue the boy, and to work with the police for the prosecution to be successful.
On the 12th of April, 2012 the Challenging Heights team rescued 15 children from Lake Volta, to where they had been trafficked from the Central Region. Amongst the children was this ten-year-old boy who was successfully rehabilitated by the Ghanaian NGO and re-united with his family in Senya. Challenging Heights also ensured the boy was enrolled in school by 24th of August 2012, and offered the family additional economic support aimed at improving the income circumstances of the family.
On the 10th of March, 2014 Challenging Heights monitoring team visited the boy’s school where they learned that he had been re-trafficked to the lake. The team interviewed community members and children and confirmed that this was the case. According to the boy’s grandmother, the father of the child and an intermediary named Kofi Yaw convinced her to hand over the child to a trafficker named Sofo in exchange for GHC80.
Challenging Heights immediately reported the case to the police, who arrested Adwoa Anderson, the grand mother, of the boy. With evidence provided by Challenging Heights, the woman was prosecuted and jailed five years.
Challenging Heights wishes to caution the general public that human trafficking is a criminal offence, under Ghana’s laws, and punishable with a minimum sentence of five years in imprisonment with no option for a fine.
The police, with the aid of the Challenging Heights monitoring team, are still searching for the three other offenders involved in this case.
Challenging Heights wishes to use this opportunity to urge government to speed up the process for the establishment of the Legislative Instrument that will help to enforce the Human Trafficking Act 2005.
We also wish to ask for improved support for the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, as well are a greater support for the Anti-Human Trafficking Board, in order to be effective in their fight against human trafficking.
It is not acceptable that in a country of less than 25million people, over 200,000 of its children are found in worst forms of child labour. It is not a good testament to our independence, and all of us need to join in the effort to fight it.
Challenging Heights is proud to have rescued over 1,000 in the last decade, and we will continue to work toward freeing more children from slavery. But our effort should be seen as complementary. The police needs to take its appropriate place in the fight against child trafficking. This can only happen if enough resources are allocated to the unit.