Challenging Heights works to change policies and practices in the source communities where we do most of our work, throughout Ghana and globally. We do this through local sensitisation campaigns, lobbying for national policy and consulting for the development of international guidelines.
We are active in the media in Ghana, placing stories and giving comments on TV, radio and in national newspapers and have a strong online presence, enabling us to harness the support of thousands of people in Ghana and overseas. We are engaged with a growing number of stakeholders locally, nationally and internationally, including a range of public bodies and other NGOs. Internationally, we are a proud member of Family for Every Child, a global alliance of NGOs working with vulnerable children; and we are partnered with Walk Free to campaign against modern slavery in Ghana.
We work with community members, survivors of slavery and their families to build their capacity in resisting child trafficking. We provide human rights education and empowerment programmes within schools, our shelter and local communities. These are designed to create community advocates against child trafficking and modern slavery.
We believe that freedom from violence is a fundamental part of children’s rights. We work with schools and teachers to develop anti-corporal punishment policies at schools and alternative discipline techniques and with national organisations to promote the adoption of non-violent policy and practice across Ghana’s schools. Guided by our belief in children’s rights, including the right to be free from violence, we are working to change the attitudes and practices that have normalised corporal punishment.
With the 2005 Human Trafficking Act, Ghana has the laws in place to address human trafficking. However, for the past several years, as indicated through the annual Trafficking in Person’s Report from the US State Department, the government has failed to enforce the laws around trafficking. In 2015, there were 238 cases, 21 investigations and 0 convictions. We pressure the government to ensure that they are doing all they can to prevent trafficking, reduce slavery and prosecute traffickers.
We also use our relationship with the government to advocate for their programmes that can help to prevent trafficking to be expanded. For example, we had done research on how the Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) social protection programme of cash transfers to vulnerable families keeps families together. The cash transfers from LEAP could be highly beneficial to families that are vulnerable to trafficking, and we advocate for the programme to be made available to them.
One of the greatest challenges that we face is that many people in Ghana are simply not aware of trafficking and modern slavery in their own country. Through a variety of public awareness campaigns, we are working to share the realities of the fishing industry with the public. We do this through community sensitisation events, stickering taxis and minivans that are often used for trafficking, and a presence in the national media.
We combine our sensitisations about child trafficking in general with programmes that share information about factors that contribute to or are a part of child trafficking, such as child marriage.
Partnering with Anti-Trafficking NGOs
We know that we cannot address the scourge of child trafficking and modern slavery on our own. Through partnerships with other non-governmental organisations, we’re able to coordinate our efforts in order to maximise our collective impact. These partnerships take a variety of forms, from sharing our high-quality rehabilitation care to collectively pressuring the government to act against traffickers to sharing information about cases in each other’s service areas.
Developing and Using Global Best Practices
The Challenging Heights Hovde House shelter has been rated the best rehabilitation centre in Ghana by the US State Department. With this designation, we strive to use global best practices for the rehabilitation of survivors of modern slavery. As a part of our participation and partnership in the Family for Every Child network, we assist in their research and development of guidelines and best practices as well, such as the Guidelines for Children’s Reintegration. We are actively reaching out and communicating with other non-governmental organisations around the world that focus on anti-trafficking to learn and grow as well.
In order to effectively combat a problem like trafficking, an understanding of the scope and forms must be had. That is why we are conducting research – so that policymakers and practitioners have a better and deeper understanding of the nature, prevalence and solutions to trafficking and modern slavery in Ghana’s fishing industry. You can find more about our research on our Resources page.
Partners in Development
Through our Partners in Development opportunities, supporters of Challenging Heights have the chance to become directly involved with CH in Winneba, Ghana and become a lifetime advocate for the fight against modern day slavery. Please check out our current opportunities to join us.