The victims being rescued by the rescue mission on the Volta Lake
The Anti Human Trafficking Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has arrested 11 persons for allegedly trafficking 31 children to work as slaves on the Volta Lake.
The suspects were arrested in a special operation organized by the Marine Police Unit, Volta Regional Police Command and the International Justice Mission (IJM).
All 31 children, comprising 30 males and one female, were rescued in the operation.
The children were transported by the suspects from Central, Eastern, Volta and others and used for fishing on the Volta Lake by their masters.
These children on the Volta Lake were made to mend, set and pull nets, clean and smoke fish, among others, by their masters.
They were also denied access to medical treatment anytime, and most times left to fend for themselves.
Child trafficking is a violation of the rights of children, their wellbeing, and it denies them the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Reports from the Ghana Statistical Service indicate that tens of thousands of children who dropped out of school were being used on the Volta Lake alone.
The Director-General of CID, DCOP Bright Oduro, who briefed the media, said 11 suspects were on police enquiry bail while the victims between the ages of six and 17 were undergoing counseling, medical screening and rehabilitation.
He said the rescue mission, which took place on April 11, 2017, was in line with the police administration’s collaborative efforts with partners to end child trafficking and forced labour on the Volta Lake and other parts of the country.
He reminded potential traffickers that trafficking is an offence under the Human Trafficking Law (Act 694, 2005) and that no parent should allow their children to be trafficked or sold into forced labour for monetary gains.
“Parents and guardians are cautioned to be wary of people and relatives who approach them for their children under the guise of helping to put them in schools in the cities.
The Director-General of CID called on chiefs, queen mothers, assembly members to report persons who traffick children to the neatest police station for swift action.
“The police will continue to work with government agencies and other interest groups to reduce the menace of child trafficking and forced labour in Ghana through sensitization, rescue operations, protection of victims and prosecution of offenders.
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey