GHANA'S SECRET SHAME
Photo : Charlotte Hoekstra
Child Trafficking is a serious problem facing children in Ghana. Ghana is not the only country involved in child trafficking. It also happens in Togo, Benin and Nigeria among others. Child trafficking is the act of selling children to sell on the street to earn a living or to work in the fishing industry and in other hard labour jobs. Examples of child trafficking are, sending children to sell pure water on the streets or in the markets, to work with fishermen on Lake Volta or to work on the cocoa farms. The work is very dangerous and hard.
Child Trafficking is caused by the following; poverty, lack of education, fear and ignorance. The high cost of litigation or seeking legal aid to address ones problem or to fight abuses like child trafficking does not favour many poor people in society. A lack of education means that those who are not formally educated are at a high risk from various human rights violations.
Fear is another cause that leads to child trafficking. Many children do not report this abuse to the security agencies because they fear the consequences of their actions. Ignorance is when someone lacks the ability of knowing something and this can also be blamed on a lack of education and understanding.
Child Trafficking has so many ill effects in Ghana. Some of these are: When a child goes on the street to sell water etc, he/she many be knocked down by a car. The child could get lost if they don’t know their way back home. The child may lose the money and refuse to go home because they know they will be beaten up by their guardian.
The solution to this problem is to educate on child trafficking. If a child is aware of the issue and has knowledge they will know their rights. Children should be encouraged and know how to report to the role of commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
The role of the media must also play their watchdog role by exposing all forms of abuse through their editorials or programmes.
By Deborah Mensah
Child Trafficking is the practice of talking children from their parents and having them working as ‘Kayayo,’ or other tedious work. Kayayo is when young children are sold to work as sellers in the streets, shops or markets. And, it is also the practice of taking children from one place to another place to work as slaves.
In Ghana, some of the parents send their children to Yaji to work for money. Yaji is a fishing town on Lake Volta. This is because they don’t have money to provide for themselves, so they sell their children to work as slaves. Some of the work they do is fishing, selling, prostitution and so on.
In some countries, child trafficking is destroying the country because the parents allow their children to be sold and work as slaves. When they allow this to happen it causes a lot of problems. Child Trafficking is a result of low education levels, ignorance, poverty and fear. Some parents truly believe they are selling their children to a better life. In reality trafficked children suffer greatly. When people send children to Yaju to go fishing, the child may fall into the water and die. The most dangerous work is helping the fishermen on Lake Volta. If their nets get stuck it is the child who is sent into the water to free it.
Child Trafficking can be prevented by the following; the court should give fair sanctions and penalties to people who abuse the right of others. The media should play an active role in educating the public on their rights and freedoms and what to do in-case of abuse. They should also verify abuses and report them to the police. And also our cultural practises here in Ghana must be modernised or reformed in order to conform to the modern standard. Children need to be aware of their rights to go to school and should ask their guardians to do so. Child Trafficking prevents children from achieving their potential and denies them any future.
By Mary Obo