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Five child slaves in Fantekope, an island community along the Lake Volta in the Kpando District have been rescued from slavery by Anti-Human Trafficking NGO, Challenging Heights.

The rescue mission, conducted in collaboration with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Navy, saw the liberation of five boys between 9 and 19 years who had slaved close to five years on the Lake.

Four out of the five children were allegedly sold into slavery by their 56 year old father; Bright Agyepong, who is claimed to have been receiving the wages of his children’s labour regularly from the slave masters.

Communication Manager of Challenging Heights, Pomaa Arthur, commenting after the rescue, explained that her organisation first heard the news on Peace FM last Thursday and decided to support the AHTU with expertise and logistics since they didn’t have the needed resources.

“We followed up on this issue and supported the police because we are very passionate about the issue of trafficking and rescuing children from slavery is a priority for us. We have been doing this since 2005 and have rescued over 1,500 children from slavery,” she said.

Ms Arthur said following a lead on the exact location of the children, Challenging Heights together with a few armed law enforcement officers went to the island community to save the children.

“The plan was to rescue the four boys who had been sold by their father but upon arrival, a nine year old boy who saw what was going on boldly came out to tell us that he’s also a slave who needs to be rescued because he wants to go to school,” she added.

Ms Arthur explained that children sold into slavery are abused and basically have no rights, adding that, these children are treated like properties.

She said the children are made to work long hours on the lake and are most of the time fed once a day.

“We are excited to have played a very key role in this rescue. This brings the number of children rescued by Challenging Heights this year to 21. These children will undergo rehabilitation at our shelter for a period of 6-9 months before they are reintegrated with their families,” she said.

Ms Arthur urged the government to prioritise the issue of trafficking by allocating more resources to law enforcement agencies responsible for combating trafficking in Ghana.

“We are likely to be downgraded to Tier 3 on the Trafficking in Persons Report if we do not make significant efforts to bring an end to trafficking. When this happens not only will the U.S cut off their aid but we would have failed the thousands of children, women and men who have been forced into slavery,” she said.

Challenging Heights has stated that it is disappointed in the Government for still failing to address the issue of Human Trafficking in Ghana.

Ghana has for the second consecutive year been classified as a Tier 2 Watch List country in the Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Report released by the U.S State Department last week due to the government’s inability to demonstrate enough efforts to prevent trafficking, prosecute criminals and protect victims.

The American government has warned that the country risks losing millions of money in aid if no effort is taken to address the situation.

Ms Pomaa Arthur, Communications Manager of the Anti-Trafficking NGO in a statement said that it is rather disappointing that systems and structures put in place by the government to fight trafficking are nothing but a cosmetic measure.

“This report reveals how much our government is unconcerned about the issues of trafficking and forced labour. Through government’s inactions, all efforts by other non-governmental organisations and agencies to bring an end to trafficking in Ghana appears to be nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she said.

Ms Arthur explained that since the Human Trafficking Fund was set-up several years ago, there has been less than GH¢200,000 deposited in that coffers coupled with a virtually non-functioning Human Trafficking Management Board in place.

She said although the government directly and indirectly receives funds from international organisations and countries such as the US to combat trafficking, the issue seems not to be on the country’s priority list as almost all government agencies mandated to fight trafficking are under-resourced or understaffed.

“We want to know what government uses donor monies for; we want to know why law-enforcement agencies are not able carry out their duties properly and we want to know why government doesn’t care about its own people who are being bought and sold as though they have no value,” she asked.

Ms Arthur noted that due to the government’s apathetic attitude towards the issue of trafficking, law-enforcement agencies such as the police and judiciary are equally laidback resulting in the country been classified as a source, transit and destination point for traffickers.

“Ghana is gradually becoming the hub of traffickers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our legal structures are not working and traffickers have taken advantage of that opportunity to turn Ghana into an operation centre for their illegal activities. They know the police will not arrest them and even if they are, they will not be convicted,” she said.

Ms Arthur noted that it’s almost an established fact that most of the efforts to address Human Trafficking has been through civil society organsations such as Challenging Heights therefore, government needed to collaborate and co-operate well with NGOs who have the resources and know-how on trafficking related issues.

“Challenging heights has been rescuing trafficked children since 2005 and providing them with rehabilitation to ensure that they are psychologically sound before they are reintegrated into society. We are committed as an organisation to end this menace, but are efforts will be futile if government does not demonstrate the same commitment,” she said.

Ms Arthur said irrespective of what Challenging Heights or any other NGO does, government still remains the most effective primary tool for stopping trafficking in the country and ensuring that the country makes significant efforts to bring an end to the situation.

She called on the government to take swift action to resource the Human Trafficking Management Board through the Human Trafficking Fund and to appropriately tool the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service to ensure the effective delivery of their mandate under the law.

“We fear that if this government inaction on Human Trafficking is not changed, Ghana may well slip into Tier 3 in the next report,” she added.

 

You can find Ghana’s country profile from the 2016 Trafficking in Person Report here.

For Immediate Release
31 March, 2016

Challenging Heights is disappointed in the conduct of the District Chief Executive of Awutu-Senya, Mr. Samson Abbey-Armah, who in a classical show of power has infringed upon the Rights of the children in his district.

On the 30th day of March, 2016, Challenging Heights; a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) promoting youth and family empowerment and children’s rights to education and freedom from forced labour in Ghana, was scheduled to have a ‘Beach Raid’ at Awutu Senya in collaboration with the District Assembly, District Police, Department of Social Welfare and the local Fishermen.

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Dr. James Kofi Annan speaks to media at the Awutu-Senya beach.

Unfortunately, the activity was obstructed by the District Chief Executive of Awutu Senya, Mr. Samson Abbey-Armah, who for reasons known to him alone, issued a last-minute warning ordering the District Coordinating Director, the District Police Commander and his team, the fishermen as well as the social worker to call off the raid which was aimed at rescuing children who were being engaged in hazardous labour on the beach, or risk being arrested.

Being law-abiding citizens, Challenging Heights reluctantly called off the Beach Raid in spite of the time and resources invested in the program and rather made use of the opportunity to educate the media present on the dangers and plight of the children engaged in child slavery/labour and the persistence of child trafficking in Ghana which has resulted in the country being placed on the Tier 2 Human Trafficking Watch List of the US State Department.

Later in the day at 10pm during UTV’s News, Mr. Abbey-Armah was called to clarify on air why he thwarted such a laudable project and to our utter surprise the DCE said the Assembly was not aware of any such program in Awutu Senya.

We find this development very unfortunate and disheartening in the sense that Challenging Heights has over the years used the appropriate channels to partner with key stakeholders in Awutu Senya to undertake numerous projects all aimed at protecting the rights of children, fighting their cause and economically empowering residents of the district and this case was no different.

Weeks before the event, Challenging Heights on the 4th of March, 2016, met with the DCE himself who explained that the Assembly had planned to embark on a similar project but couldn’t implement it due to monetary constraints and as such commended and approved of the program and personally delegated the District Coordinating Director to provide Challenging Heights with the necessary support to make the Beach Raid a success.

This was followed by series’ of meetings with the Senya Police Commander, the District Coordinating Director and one Madam Winifred Agyemang who is supposedly in charge of NGOs operating in the district. All of the above-mentioned, including the Chief Fisherman, Nenyi Mortey and the Department of Social Welfare confirmed their participation and support of the Beach Raid a day before the activity was to take place.

Challenging Heights is therefore stating emphatically that the DCE is being economical with the truth if he says he had no knowledge of the Beach Raid and we are by this medium expressing our disappointment in Mr. Abbey-Armah for refusing and even going to the extent of threatening us with arrest should we embark on a program which seeks to comply and enforce the Children’s Act of 1998 and the Human Trafficking Act, 2005.

As an organisation, Challenging Heights has been involved in a myriad of activities in Awutu Senya such as rescuing over 250 trafficked children on the Lake Volta and returning them to their families in the community, the distribution of over 6,000 TOM Shoes to 10 primary and JHS schools in the district, the establishment of five Community Child Protection Committees whose members have been receiving training in Child’s Rights for the past four years and sponsoring a child from Awutu Senya to meet the Queen of Sweden.

Just last year, together with the Assembly and other stakeholders, Challenging Heights held a bus raid in Awutu Senya and rescued children who were being trafficked to work on the Lake Volta and distributed over 10,000 Anti-Human Trafficking stickers as part of our targeted sensitisation project in the district.

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DCE Sampson Abbey-Armah Source: www.newsghana.com.gh

In effect, for the DCE to claim he doesn’t know of Challenging Heights or the projects undertaken by the organisation in his district including the establishment of Micah 6:8 Vocational School, is a clear testament of his ignorance of the developments in his district and an indication that he is not on the ground.

If Mr. Abbey-Armah is saying he isn’t aware that Challenging Heights has supported over 400 women from his district out of the 1200 women who have benefitted from the organisation’s Livelihood Programme, how sure can we be sure that this DCE has the interests of his people at heart?

Our outstanding achievements in Awutu Senya and many others nationwide were one of the reasons Challenging Heights was commended by the Parliament of Ghana in 2015 for being proactive in engaging in activities that would ensure that Child Slavery/Labour becomes a thing of the past.

We have worked very hard these past years with notable international and local organisations such as the office of the Catholic Pope (Vatican), UNICEF, U.S State Department, the Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service to rescue over 1,500 child slaves from the Lake Volta and will not therefore involve ourselves in whatsoever form of commotion that will bring our hard-earned name into disrepute.

Challenging Heights will not be deterred by this regrettable incident but will stay focused on its mission of rescuing children from trafficking situations, rehabilitating victims of trafficking and providing them with quality education and also continue collaborating with MMDAs, Law Enforcement Agencies, CSOs and the Government of Ghana among others to ensure that child trafficking is eliminated in Ghana.

We wish to extend our warm appreciation to all agencies, organisations and individuals who have supported us in advocating for children’s rights and empowering women and youth economically.

We wish to particularly acknowledge the fruitful collaboration we have had with the office of the IGP, the Office of Madam Rose Bio-Atinga and the Director of the CID, Prosper Abhlor who collaborated with us to launch our Turn Back Child Trafficking Campaign, Honourable Nana Oye Lithur, whose office has firmed collaborations with Challenging Heights, the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Employment, the Head of NGOs at the Department of Social Welfare, Dela Ashiagbor for collaborating with us over the last decade to achieve our milestones.

We want to assure the General Public that Challenging Heights is one of the very few Ghanaian-led organisations which is not only duly registered and recognised by the Department of Social Welfare but also files annual reports to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection every single year through the Department of Social Welfare and renews its recognition certificate each of those years.

Lucy Pomaa Arthur
Challenging Heights
Public Relations Officer
0244 515761

An overwhelming number of children in Accra Town, an island community close toYeji in the Brong-Ahafo Region are not enrolled in school or getting proper education amid persistent child labour in the predominantly fishing community.

Children of school going age are often found engaging in fishing with their parents or guardians on the Lake Volta during school hours resulting in lateness or total absenteeism at the only educational centre in the community; Accra Town D/A Primary School.

This trend was observed when Challenging Heights (CH); a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in Winneba, visited the coastal community with members of its Ambassadors Programme to expose them to the humanitarian and philanthropic activities of the organisation.

The occasion also provided an opportunity for the Ambassadors to have fun and interact with the schoolchildren, teachers and residents of the community. The group of seven from the United States of America, for a period of two-weeks, will familiarise themselves with the four core programmes of Challenging Heights, namely; education, recovery and rescue of trafficked children, livelihood and advocacy.

The Headmaster of Accra Town D/A Primary School, Mr Wisdom Tsamenyi, interacting with the Ambassadors, said although the scale of child trafficking and hazardous labour amongst children in the area had declined significantly since CH started working with the community; it clearly remained a major setback.

He noted that one of the major problems confronting the school was the issue of pupil absenteeism and lateness. He said that often, families in the community had very little interest in their children’s education as compared to their help with fishing and mending nets on the Lake.

“Sometimes, I have to go round the community on my motorbike appealing to parents and guardians to release their wards to come to school. Some of them yield to my request and allow the children to come to school for a period, others release their children after their fishing is done and some do not come to school at all,” he added.

Mr Tsamenyi noted that children were frequently tardy in coming to schooland mostly tired as a result of going fishing in the early hours of the morning.

“These pupils habitually sleep during lessons and immediately ran back home during break-time,” he said.

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Mr Tsamenyi further explained that the pupils, after completing their primary school, had to relocate to the Yeji Township to continue with their junior high education, adding that, the situation discouraged them from starting school since it was unlikely that they will carry on with the learning process. Speaking about the unavailability of accommodation for teachers, MrTsamenyi explained that housing problems deterred most teachers who have been posted to the community from coming to teach.

“The conditions of service in this vicinity are very poor. Accommodation is not provided for us and this is coupled with inaccessibility to potable drinking water. Even here in the school, students have to walk three kilometres to and fro each day to fetch drinking water from the lake, which is our only source of water,” he lamented. Mr Tsamenyi was however, grateful to CH for facilitating the construction of the primary school for Accra New Town and supporting the school with shoes for the pupils as well as teaching and learning materials.

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Chairman of Friends of Challenging Heights, USA, Mr Mark Hamilton, said they would go back home to tell the story and raise funds to help stop child trafficking in Ghana, improve education and strengthen communities to economically empower themselves and resist trafficking.

“We have been to the CH’s Hovde House Shelter in Central Regionwhere we met some survivors of child trafficking and saw for ourselves how Challenging Heights is working with them to reintegrate them into society. Now we are here in Yeji, and judging by the number of children we saw working on the lake, it’s obvious that more needs to be done to end child slavery in Ghana,” he said. Mr Hamilton said the Ambassadorswill visit the Challenging Heights School in Winneba to spend time with the pupils and join the staff in teaching the children for a week before returning to the USA.

The Recovery and Community Engagement Manager of Challenging Heights, Stephen Addo, was grateful to the seven Ambassadors for making the trip to Ghana and entreated the government, corporate institutions and individuals to join forces with CH to end child trafficking in Ghana.

SOURCE: Challenging Heights

For Immediate Release – Challenging Heights in partnership with the Canadian High Commission today supported hundreds of children in Senya Beraku in demanding their child rights be secured and protected. Children from over 20 different schools formulated a communiqué to Awutu Senya West District Assembly at the end of a Child Rights conference held in the town.

The theme of the day was “Child Rights is your Responsibility!” and commenced with approximately 450 children being empowered to learn about their rights. Participants then explored the responsibility of different members of society in protecting child rights, including family, community, civil society and state institutions.

The event culminates with a presentation by the children setting out their expectations of the local assembly in meeting its responsibilities. The Chief Executive of Awutu Senya West District Assembly, Hon Sampson Nee Armah Abbey was invited responded to the communiqué with a commitment to lead on protecting and promoting child rights in the district.

Challenging Heights is grateful for the Assemblies engagement but believes more needed to be done at all levels in society: “We all have a responsibility for Ghana’s children, from parents to parliamentarians”. We call on all ministries to ensure they played their part: “Schools can keep children safe, but the Ministry of Education must ensure the capitation grant is released on time; LEAP helps protect children, so we ask the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to expand the programme to coastal areas as promised last year. More must be done to stop child trafficking, but again this year the budget allocated to the Human Trafficking Fund has not been released.
For its part Challenging Heights is continuing to educate and sensitize communities on child labour and trafficking, and providing education and livelihoods support to some of the neediest families. The conference organisers put out the following call: “Let none of us walk by on the other side when we see children’s rights abused: mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, teachers and elders, community leader and chiefs, police and immigration officers, social workers and welfare officers, assembly men and women, MPs, Ministers and Mr President – we ask you all to do your duty and accept that ‘Child Rights are your Responsibility!’.”

During the event visiting dignitaries including the representatives from Ghana Education Services, Social Welfare and the Tuofohene of Senya were entertained by traditional dancing and singing performances by the Challenging Heights School choir and cultural troop.

Contact details for interview or follow-up

For Immediate Release – The Overall goal of the NPA is stated as: “The main objective of this National Plan of Action (Framework) is to reduce the worst forms of child labour to the barest minimum by 2015, while laying strong social, policy and institutional foundations for the elimination and prevention of all other forms of child labour in the longer term.”

The NPA cites the 2003 Ghana Child Labour Survey, which estimated that out of 6.36 million children (5-17 year olds)

  • 2.47 million children economically active (38.8%);
  • 1.27 million in child labour (20.0%);

The GCLS 2003 did not measure worst forms of child labour.

The GLSS6 indicates that by 2014 this has risen to:

  • 1.9 million children in child labour (21.8%);
  • 1.2 million children in hazardous labour (14.2%); out of 8.70 million children.

Thus the Government of Ghana’s own figures indicate that the core aim of the NPA has not been met.

Even if we assume that before 2010 up to 95% of all forms of child labour were hazardous child labour then a change from 19% (0.95×20%) to 14.2% represents a reduction of only 25% i.e. the target to eliminate the worst forms of child labour has been missed by 75%.

In practice, the proportion of all child labour that was hazardous at the start of the NPA is likely to be much lower. In 2014 hazardous labour formed 63% of all child labour.

Given that WFCL were not measured prior to the NPA the best direct comparison is of the figures for all forms of child labour:

  • The total number of children in Ghana in child labour has increased (the change from 1.27m to 1.9m represents a 49% rise);
  • The proportion of Ghanaian children in child labour has increased (the change from 20.0% to 21.8% is equivalent to 9% inflation).

We believe the reason the NPA has not delivered its core goal is because key objectives set out in it have not meet met. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Establishment of children’s panels in all districts (Issue 1.1.2, p16)
  • Revision of the Labour act (1.1.3, p19)
  • Regulation and protection of children in domestic service (Issue 1.1.2, p17)
  • Provision for victims of domestic servitude, kayaye and CSEC (Issues 5.1.5, p56) Government shelters remain unfunded and in inadequate condition with provision coming from CSOs (2015 TIP Report)
  • Training of law enforcement officers (Issue 1.2.1, p23), with the US state department and INGOs taking on the task in 2016.
  • -No coordination of anti trafficking cases (Issue 4.1.1, p44) e.g. Central Region there is no function AHTU office despite being a source of victims: we rely on DOVVSU who are not mandated or trained.
  • Lack of prosecutions (Issue 4.1.3, p46) the 2015 TIP Report identifies a decrease in Government efforts; our own experience is that prosecutions have only been achieved by CSO pursuing cases and funding law enforcement agencies.
  • The legal instruments for the 2005 Human Trafficking have still not been enacted by Parliament;
  • The Human Trafficking Fund is unfunded for the fourth consecutive year (2015 TIP Report);
  • Many children not in school (Issue 3.1.1, p29): we know from our research into LEAP that economic support for the very poor is necessary to achieve this
  • Capitation grant does not cover all schools or all basic needs (Issue 3.1.2, p31): we continue to document grants not being paid on time.

Challenging Heights has continued to highlighted these issues so that they can be addressed, in the hope that changes would occur in the lifetime of the NPA. Specifically:

  • Challenging Heights has called for Ghana to ratify ILO Domestic Workers Convention No.189.
  • Challenging Heights has advocated for the expansion of LEAP provision both in substance and reach.
  • CH has campaigned for the timely release of capitation grants before the start of every school term.
Schools should be a place of joy and safety - not fear and violence.

Schools should be a place of joy and safety – not fear and violence.

Press Release: 2nd October 2015

As we commemorate the International Day for Non-Violence, Challenging Heights is calling on schools and families to refrain from subjecting children to all forms of violence.

Every day hundreds of children suffer violence in Ghana. The most common forms of violence against children are child labour, child trafficking, domestic slavery and an outdated culture of disciplining children by corporal punishment.

Challenging Heights condemns all forms of violence against children in Ghana, especially corporal punishment in all schools and homes.

There is good evidence showing that inflicting pain through corporal punishment as a way of disciplining children is a very weak method for correcting wrong behaviour compared to other methods. Contrarily, existing evidence shows that corporal punishment leaves emotional and psychosocial scars on victims, reduces mental development and school performance and is likely to make children more violent.

Challenging Heights recalls the case of Kwesi, a 15 years old boy who dropped out of school and shortly afterwards was trafficked to work as fisher boy on Lake Volta. He dropped out of school due to several beatings he endured at the hands of teachers, one of which left him partially blind in one eye. Driven away by violence, Kwesi spent over two years in child labour, enduring all forms of abuses at the hands of cruel and greedy traffickers.

It may surprise Ghanaians that they are out of step with most other countries: research by UNICEF has shown that children in Ghana experience the 7th highest rate of “violent discipline” in the world. Challenging Heights is calling on citizens to learn alternative behavioural management approaches rather than resorting to the primitive use of inflicting pain as a way of instilling discipline.

Press Release: 20th September 2015

Children are routinely trafficked on public transport in Ghana, which is why all trotro buses must be checked at every checkpoint

Children are routinely trafficked on public transport in Ghana, which is why all trotro buses must be checked at every checkpoint

Today, 20th September 2015, through Senya Police Service and Challenging Heights collaboration 5 children were potentially saved from being trafficked into forced labour. Human trafficking is morally wrong and strongly prohibited by the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694), which makes it a criminal offense liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.

Police need to thoroughly screen vehicles for vulnerable children, especially those travelling long distances alone

Police need to thoroughly screen vehicles for vulnerable children, especially those travelling long distances alone

Yet Ghanaian children are trafficked every day within and across our borders. Often children are trafficked in plain sight, across police checkpoints and using commercial vehicles.

Questioning suspicious passengers and drivers can quickly identify potential cases of trafficking

Questioning suspicious passengers and drivers can quickly identify potential cases of trafficking

Exemplary screening of vehicles by the MTTD of Senya Police shows how rife the problem is, with a single checkpoint identifying 5 children suspected to be trafficked in only one night. Instead of being denied their right to education and possibly being taken to work as slave labour in the fishing industry on Lake Volta, these boys and girls are now either safely in protective custody or back with their families.
Challenging Heights believes that this represents a fraction of the many children who are trafficked on our roads on commercial vehicles and across police checkpoints every day. Children whose hopes, education and opportunity are callously traded for a life of forced labour, abuse and bondage.

Children taken into protective custody by the police on the suspicion of being trafficked to Lake Volta to be exploited as forced labour in the fishing industry

Children taken into protective custody by the police on the suspicion of being trafficked to Lake Volta to be exploited as forced labour in the fishing industry

Challenging Heights calls on commercial drivers and passengers in Ghana to ensure that no child is trafficked in Ghana. It is every citizen’s responsibility to watch out for vulnerable children in vehicles and report suspicious cases at the next police checkpoint.

Children are cared for by Challenging Heights staff during the operation, being given food and drink on our bus parked away from the police checkpoint, before

Children are cared for by Challenging Heights staff during the operation before being taken to the safety of our shelter

We also remind all officers and barrier personnel of the police directive issued by the IGP on 5th June to systematically check all vehicles for trafficking, and to respond promptly to potential trafficking cases reported to them at such checkpoints. Only by all working together can we Turn Back Human trafficking in Ghana and give our children the future they deserve.

To The Press for Immediate Release: 8th September 2015

Challenging Heights condemns the current trend of delay and irregularity in the release of capitation grants to public schools in Ghana.  We are therefore calling on Hon. Prof. Jane Opoku Mensah, the Minister of Education to ensure that the grant for this school’s terms is release immediately.

Today, Tuesday, 8th September 2015, public schools have re-open. We want to see that the capitation grants are made available to all public schools without any delay at all since the Ghanaian child’s education is too precious to wait.

The country fails to meet its commitment to give every child a basic education, as directed in the MDG, if it does not release the grant on time. Our call to the education minister is most urgent since the current trend of delay and irregularity in the release of the grant to public schools contributes to the failing Basic Certificate Examination Certificate (BECE) in our basic schools in Ghana.

Sadly, there is an evidence of several head teachers being distressed by bearing the unwarranted burden of raising funds to run their schools in Ghana, when grant money is not distributed on time.

To fill the funding gap, head teachers have had to resort to levying pupils as a means of raising funds to run the school. Also, some head teachers have to take bank loans or overdraft personally to fund the school.

The question that arises is, is it the responsibility of the head teachers to raise funds to run the schools? Is it not illegitimate to levy students in the public schools as means of raising funds under the current Capitation Grant regime? Can we guarantee quality education in the basic schools should the current trend persist?

These concerns are why Challenging Heights demands that the education minister ensures that grants are released immediately, as public schools re-open for a new school year, to ensure that quality education is achieved.

Challenging Heights is a Ghanaian Non-Government Organization that envisions “a world where every child is in school and lives in a caring and loving family.”

 

For interviews contact:  David Kofi Awusi, Advocacy Manager
Cell: (+233) 240 577 480; Email:
advocacychghana@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE 10-08-2014

Challenging Heights calls on Ghana Police to deliver on their commitment to stop children being trafficked across Ghana, with the upcoming school vacation known to be the season when many children are taken into forced labour on Lake Volta.

Exactly one year ago this week the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) conducted a raid along Accra-Kumasi road in collaboration with Challenging Heights. Checking just 6 vehicles they identified 33 children deemed at risk of being trafficked or exploited in hazardous forced labour in the fishing industry there.

Challenging Heights urgently reminds all Ghana Police officers of the directive issued by the IGP on 5th June 2015 during the launch of the TURN BACK Human Trafficking Campaign in Accra. This commits all officers and personnel at barriers and checkpoints to thoroughly screen vehicles for unaccompanied children and to report cases of concern.

PoliceScreening

On 5th June the police committed to screening all vehicles for trafficked children – Challenging Heights is now asking to see action at checkpoints during the school vacations when children are particularly at risk of being trafficked in Ghana

We believe that at this time vigilance is required by all police officers, but especially the MTTD. The safety of our children cannot be left to special operations but requires the systematic screening of suspicious vehicles, especially those carrying children, across all our roads. If the AHTU can rescue dozens of children in just one night, imagine how many more could be saved if checkpoint officers met their obligation to check for vulnerable children every day?
Sadly, over 190,000 people are thought to be trapped by human trafficking in Ghana. Of the estimated 49,000 children working on Lake Volta, over 21,000 are engaged in hazardous child labour – work that endangers their lives. We believe many of these children are trafficked to the Lake during school vacations, and so it is imperative the police act now before Ghanaian children are made slaves in need of rescue in their own country.

Challenging Heights therefore calls on police officers, the public, drivers and GPTRU leader to ensure that there will be no child trafficking during this year’s schools vacation in Ghana. We further remind all citizens that the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 594), makes human trafficking a criminal offence punishably by imprisonment.
Challenging Heights is a Ghanaian NGO that “promotes youth and family empowerment and children’s rights to education and freedom from forced labour in Ghana”. Our vision is “a world where every child is in school and lives in a caring and loving family.

Challenging Heights is a Ghanaian NGO that promotes youth and family empowerment and children’s rights to education and freedom from forced labour in Ghana. Challenging Heights delivers social justice interventions to underserved communities with programmes that include the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of children who have been trafficked to Lake Volta to work in the fishing industry. Challenging Heights also runs a number of community awareness and economic empowerment programmes in order to prevent trafficking and re-trafficking of children.

For interview contact: David Kofi Awusi, Advocacy Manager
Cell: (+233) 240 577480; Email: advocacychghana@gmail.com