Not only were three children rescued, but four arrests took place; police investigators and government lawyers worked promptly to have the case heard in court the day following the rescue. All suspects faced charges on counts of human trafficking, exploitative labour, and hazardous labour.
Two suspects pleaded guilty to human trafficking, carrying a five-year prison sentence. One of the convicted suspects who had used the children for labour will also have to pay a fine, or spend an additional year in prison if unable to pay.
While IJM has previously seen convictions for child labour in its cases in Ghana, these convictions are IJM Ghana’s first human trafficking convictions.
Will Lathrop, Country Director for IJM Ghana said.
Upon rescue, the children shared with social workers details of their gruelling work conditions. The 8-year-old said his job was to scoop water from the canoe. He would be caned by the slave owner whenever he did something the man felt was wrong. This young boy was afraid of harsh winds and storms but had to go on the boat regardless of the weather to avoid being caned.
The 15-year-old was on his way to start his days’ work around 2 a.m. when he was rescued. This had been his routine for many years. After rescue, he shared with social workers that he already had a clear idea of what he wanted to do next,
The children have been placed in a safe care home to receive further assessment and have their immediate needs addressed.
International Justice Mission is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.Find out more
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