Another Group of Children Rescued From Forced Labour

Twenty-six more children have been rescued
by IOM from forced labour at a fishing community near Yeji on the
northern shores of Ghana's Lake Volta.

The children, rescued in collaboration with
the Ghanaian non-governmental organization (NGO) Friends for Human
Development (FHD), were taken to a Department of Social Welfare
Rehabilitation centre in the capital, Accra, where they will spend
the next month and a half. Here, they will receive comprehensive
medical and psychosocial assistance from IOM staff and other
partners such as the government and local NGOs. If their
rehabilitation goes well, the children will be reunited with their
parents or guardians on 29 April.

The 26 children, who were rescued from 14
fishermen in communities at Adakrom, Kpejai Number Two, Gbetekpo,
Awugakope, and Fanteakura, were part of a larger group of 50
children registered by FHD under the supervision of IOM.

Prior to being taken to the rehabilitation
centre, the children, who had all been sold by impoverished parents
for up to $US100, were kept at a FHD transit camp at Atebubu close
to Yeji where they received counselling and final screening.

The working hours of the children who had to
cast or retrieve caught fishing nets, were long with most beginning
their day at 5 am. Depending on the availability of food, they ate
between once and twice a day and most were malnourished.

The rescue of all 50 children now brings the
number of children freed and reunited with their families by a US
government-funded IOM programme to 587.

In order to rescue children from their
exploiters, IOM enlists the critical support of traditional elders,
particularly that of the Paramount Chief of Yeji and the Pru
District Assembly, as they have great influence on the fishermen.
In return, the fishermen receive training and micro-credits to help
them improve their fishing techniques or engage in other
income-generating activities.

All rescued children are enrolled in school or
into vocational training programmes soon after being reunited with
their families. The 537 children released beforehand are currently
receiving reintegration assistance from IOM such as school
supplies, psychosocial counselling, medical screening, and health
care. The parents or guardians of the rescued children also receive
income generation support from IOM in order to prevent the children
from being re-trafficked.

For further information, please contact:

Joseph Rispoli

IOM Accra

Tel: 233.244 975250

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