One of the biggest social problems Ghana is facing is child trafficking: thousands of children are recruited, transported, transferred and traded to become cheap labor. A major contributor to this problem is the fishing industry in the Volta region.
In the east of Ghana lies Lake Volta, the world’s biggest man-made lake. At a glance a beautiful lake, but it contains an ugly and shocking truth. Going to the lake, you will see hundreds of children working; peddling, bailing water, fishing and diving to disentangle nets. They are sold or given away by their families, brought into a strange and often hostile environment, exposed to dangerous and unhealthy situations.
The children, some only 4 years old, are at the mercy of a master (fisherman) who treat them as cheap laborers who can be maltreated. Because the child has little value to his master, there is no necessity to clothe or feed them properly. They have no access to health care or education and work for very long hours which at times is very dangerous. A lot of child slaves witness the death of others, who are sometimes their friends.
“All the time I was working on the lake, I was aware that I could die too, at any moment.”
(Kwaku, rescued from child trafficking in 2009)
Poverty, ignorance and lack of education can be seen as the three most important reasons why child labor and child trafficking in Ghana exists.