20 September 2022
ACCRA, GHANA – The Jasikan Circuit Court sentenced a 45-year-old fisherman to five years in prison for the offence of human trafficking, and ordered him to pay 20,000 cedis ($2200 AUD) as compensation to the victim.
The case was in court for 13 months as the accused, Issah Asilevi of Nkonya-Adjamasu, pleaded not guilty to the offence of human trafficking and engaged the services of a lawyer who represented him at the trial in 2021. Judgement was finally delivered on 20 September after both prosecution and defence filed written addresses.
Khris*, a 14-year-old survivor of human trafficking, and his family with whom he has been reintegrated with, are relieved to hear of this outcome. Khris is also currently enrolled in school for the first time.
*Khris is the first of five siblings. In 2016, his parents visited a nearby town where the recruiter approached them intending to engage their son in fishing activities on Lake Volta. The recruiter promised an amount of 500 cedis ($60 AUD) per annum to Khris’s parents.
After he was given away for this sum, Khris lived and worked with his boat master on the Lake for five years with no access to education. While on the lake, his work included paddling the canoe and setting baskets and bamboo traps in the lake. Most days, he worked from midnight to noon.
Rescue and Restoration
With the support of International Justice Mission Ghana, the Oti Regional Police Command and the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) rescued Khris and arrested his boat master on 15 March.
After the rescue, Khris was placed in a private shelter for his care and rehabilitation.
The DSW ensured the right care and psychosocial support for Khris. There was also a collaborative effort to conduct a thorough home assessment of his family before reintegrating him with a close relative–a joyful reunion after five years of being trafficked.
IJM commends the Oti regional police and the DSW for their diligent efforts to protect Khris and many children like him. The Office of the Attorney-General is also commended for their diligent effort at prosecution.
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