By Erin Foster Bowser
Ghana - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is proud to support the Government of Ghana in its efforts to eliminate cross-border and internal forms of human trafficking. Since 2002, IOM has focused its efforts on countering trafficking of children within Ghana to the fishing industry on Lake Volta.
Thanks to generous private donors IOM is once again hoping to conduct a rescue in early 2015. Our goal is to free 20 children from forced labour on Lake Volta and provide them with rehabilitation and reintegration. #GhanaChildRescue is renewing our commitment to the elimination of human trafficking.
Throughout this year various fundraising initiatives have been held benefiting this great cause. Notable mentions include efforts by the United States Association for International Migration (USAIM) and GlobalGrandparenting with events held in Columbus, Ohio. They inspired a city to get involved with its ‘Children Saving Children’ campaign. Walk-a-Thons, concerts, dinners, and outreach among the Ghanaian diaspora all led up to the featured address by a child trafficking survivor, Never, in October (both at Lincoln Theater and the Columbus Council on World Affairs). Thus far USAIM and GlobalGrandparenting have raised USD 70,000 towards the rescue, with a goal of achieving USD 100,000 before the rescue takes place.
Similarly, our award winning partner Breaking the Chain Through Education (BTCTE), held its first annual fundraising dinner in October, in New Jersey, in support of #GhanaChildRescue, with guest speaker, Never, sharing his story of survival, rescue and educational quest. Additionally, BTCTE sponsors 30 children who were previously rescued by IOM and hired a social worker assigned to the IOM counter-trafficking team to monitor the children’s reintegration progress.
#GhanaChildRescue reached a new level of visibility thanks to Fashioned for Freedom 2014, held in October in London, UK. The show was hosted by actor David Gyasi, who has family ties to Ghana, and featured many well-known designers supporting ethical fashion, with a total of USD 3,000 raised.
The final fundraising drive of the year was #GivingTuesday, a global social medial initiative that encourages private donors to give to charity on the first Tuesday of December. Our goal was to raise awareness and funds for the #GhanaChildRescue initiative to increase support for the 2015 rescue. Over 1,800 individuals were reached with our ‘Share for Ghana’ post on Facebook.
No child, woman or man should have to endure the agony of forced labour. It is time to sound the drum of change. Every beat a reminder that we can and must do more to ensure an end to this practice.
For those interested in supporting our efforts to counter child trafficking please visit us at www.iom.int/ghanachildrescue and support #GhanaChildRescue.