Ghana - On the occasion of the International Day of Friendship and the first annual World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30 July), we are featuring the efforts of IOM Ghana ‘friends’ in raising awareness and funding to support the rescue, rehabilitation, return and reintegration of children trafficked into the fishing industry. These Days are an opportunity to unite together and value our relationships; while continuing to fight against inhumane practices such as trafficking in persons.
Inspirational, Innovative, Impactful – these are just three ways to describe the dynamic duo of Mark and Rosanne Rosen, founders of GlobalGrandparenting. World travellers, the Rosens witnessed first-hand the dire situation of children living in India, Nepal and Ghana.
When an article appeared in the New York Times (October 2006), describing the dangerous conditions for children trafficked to the fishing industry in Ghana and IOM’s efforts to rescue children and work with communities, they did not hesitate to act. They had a grandson the same age as the boy profiled in the article. Rosanne explained, “Our own situation is a matter of luck and circumstance. These children deserve to have grandparents supporting them.” Thus began their journey with GlobalGrandparenting and a mission to spread the word to others in their community in Columbus, Ohio and across the United States.
In 2014, the Rosens started an initiative called Children Saving Children, to fundraise for the rescue of 20 children trafficked to the fishing industry in Ghana. Reflecting on the response they have received from children in their community, Rosanne said, “Once children are empowered with information about what is happening in Ghana they want to do something.” Even if they can only donate one dollar towards the rescue, these children are taking a stand against harmful practices.
The first children’s event is set to take place on Sunday, 7 September, a benefit concert by the Urban Strings youth orchestra, a unique group of musicians that hail from across Columbus. The next event has children putting their sneakers on, a walkathon, to be held at Columbus International High School on Sunday, 17 September.
Those children who participated in Children Saving Children events will be formally recognized for their efforts at a fundraiser to be held at the Lincoln Center on 5 October.
IOM has been active in Ghana since 1987 and has contributed to the efforts of the Government of Ghana to manage migration effectively through a wide variety of projects and programmes.
IOM Accra started its programmes by supporting the institutional capacity-building needs within the country through Phase Two of the Return of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN II) programme (1988-92). This programme facilitated the return of highly qualified African nationals including Ghanaians residing in the diaspora to contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana by returning home to take up key positions in priority sectors including health, education, economics, finance, public service, and political administration.
Since then, the office has grown to address a variety of migration management needs. During the past 10 years, IOM Accra has been involved in refugee resettlement and the movement of various migrants for family reunification and other opportunities to various countries throughout the world. Other IOM Accra activities include migration policy development, labour migration, migration and development, combating human-trafficking, assisted voluntary returns, border management, information campaigns on the risks and realities of migration, and humanitarian and emergency response.