After months of research and preparations, our Rescue Team spent the last two weeks on Lake Volta locating and rescuing sixteen children from forced labour.
Stephen Adoo, the Rescue and Community Outreach Manager, works closely with the Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs). These committees are made up of local community members in high standing, such as elders, pastors, imams, assemblymen, as well as students, and they serve as points of education for their community about trafficking, the importance of children staying in school and report instances of trafficking to us. When we get these reports of trafficking, our field team works to gather as much information as we can about the child, their family, where they were trafficked to, who trafficked them and where on Lake Volta they are likely to be. Their name then gets added to Adoo’s rescue list.
We aim to do a least two rescues on Lake Volta a year, along with a number of other rescues from interceptions before the children make it to the lake. These rescues usually last around two weeks, with long days spent under the sun in a boat on Lake Volta. Our team goes to a number of small villages that dot the lake shore to search for the children on our list. When we find them, we work to convince them to come with us and their masters and the villagers to let us rescue them. Nearly all of them express a desire to go to school, and we explain how they will have that opportunity with us.
As the children are rescued, they stay in a transitional shelter until the rescue operation has finished. Then, we bring them to the Hovde House shelter, where our qualified and trained staff takes over to help them on the road of recovery and rehabilitation. This week, we and the children at the shelter, welcomed 16 new residents with warmth and open arms. We know that their journey to recovery is just beginning and will be a difficult one, but we are proud to say that we will be with them every step of the way.