AU Day of the Child: Chilling story of boy, 16, trafficked to Guinea

The desire to make quick money and travel abroad is a dream most young people chase after. But for 16 year old Kofi (not real name to protect identity), it came at a cost – his education.

Kofi and 17 other boys were trafficked to Guinea from Adamu Katakyi, a suburb of Nsawam in the Eastern region last year.

His story comes as Ghana joins the rest of Africa to mark AU Day of the Child, on the theme ‘a child friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Africa”.

Like many of his peers he was a junior high school student and attended school religiously until October last year. That’s when 64 year old mechanic Mewugah Konyo told him there was a big company abroad that needed his services and willing to pay good money.

According to Kofi, Mewugah informed them on one Thursday that it was time for them to travel. “I didn’t even inform my parents. I packed my clothes and moved to his house. He didn’t tell us anything. He just said he was taking us abroad” he narrated.

“And you know, everybody wants good things so I was convinced. We moved to Ningo Prampram at 11:30pm. We spent the night there and he asked us to move to Sekondi, from where we would go to Tema to board the plane. When we got to Tema, he said we should rather wait for a big ship to take us to our destination.”

Kofi also narrated the deadly ten-day experience he had on the sea from Ghana to Guinea.

“On the boat, about 8 people were forced to eat from a very small bowl. Whether or not you were satisfied, it wasn’t their problem,” he said.  “All of us had to make do with the small space in the boat in order to sleep. It was deadly. You could only wish that you would be alive the next day. The sun was so scorching. Whenever it rained in the night, we had to sleep in the open like that. I cried throughout. I vomited throughout. And there was no medicine for me. The only drug I had was Paracetamol.”

He said upon reaching Guinea, he was forced into fishing by Mewugah Konyo for weeks without food and money. His escape from this lifestyle came in the form of an intervention by the Ghana Ambassador to Guinea.

Kofi, whose education was cut short, says he now has to start all over again.

“This has really affected me. If I had stayed, I would have been in Form 2 at the JHS. Now, I feel shy going back to school because of my friends. My option now is to start from JHS one when school re-opens in the next academic year.”

Meanwhile the 64 year old Mewugah Konyo has been arrested and is in prison custody.

But Head of Anti-Human Trafficking in the Eastern Region ASP Daniel Yaro tells Joy News the rate of human trafficking especially in the region is worrying. He says his unit has extended education to help reduce the phenomenon.

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