Archives For Child Rights

Challenging Heights Rescues 42 More Children From Slavery

December 10, 2018

Challenging Heights in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Navy, the Department of Social Welfare, and its international partners, Abolish Slavery Now, have over the weekend rescued 42 more children from forced labor in Lake Volta.

The rescued children comprised of four girls and 38 boys between the ages of 5 and 16. These rescued children were sold from communities in the Central and Greater Accra Regions, to the lake for the purposes of labor exploitation. It took the rescue team nearly two months of investigations and searching to achieve this success.

All the children would go through Rehabilitation, and subsequently be re-united with their families.

Over the years Challenging Heights has been in cooperation with the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), as well as the Ghana Police Service, with respect to rescues, policies and national advocacy aimed at putting an end to Child Trafficking in Ghana.

Challenging Heights works in several communities across Ghana to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate children who have been affected by trafficking and worst forms of child labor, as well as build community resilience against trafficking of children.

Last year, Challenging Heights, together with its partners, rescued 91 children made up of 74 boys and 17 girls, all from forced labour on Lake Volta. This year the organization and its partners have so far rescued over 100 children.

Since its inception in 2003, the organization and its partners have so far rescued over 1,600 children from the Lake Volta.

We would like to thank all those who supported this operations; the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Navy, the Department of Social Welfare, and Abolish Slavery Now, who all have stood by us in the face of the mountain difficulties.

We will like to take this opportunity to ask for the Ghanaian government to invest at least GHC15million annually, to resource the Human Trafficking Secretariat, and the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, in order for them to have the capacity to do their work, as well as enforcing the Human Trafficking Law 2005.

Finally, we feel troubled that some MPs, and other politicians, by their actions, seem to be supporting and emboldening some of the fishermen to launch attacks on our leadership, staff and rescue facilities. We are therefore calling on the Police Administration to extend maximum security protection to the staff and facilities of Challenging Heights against traffickers, and their sympathizers who are presently ruffled by the rescues that have taken place.



This post was written by James Kofi Annan, President

Its Family Time!

The family visit day is one of the key events on the Challenging Heights Hovde House’s calendar. The day is always met with so much excitement, anxiety and a bittersweet feeling as the children get to see their immediate families. Some of these family members of which were in a way responsible for the ordeal, after quite a significant amount of years in slavery. Organizing such an event is therefore important as it usually becomes the first step on a journey to reconciliation as well as reunification. Prior to the event, the children are counselled and helped as much as possible to deal with the pain or bitterness they feel towards any of their relatives.

Once the relatives reached the Hovde House, they are informed by the reintegration officers, the importance of making the children feel as secured and loved as much as possible. They are first taking through a period of training with the staff at the facility, on the progress, needs and concerns of the children who are going to be reintegrated. They are then given some bit of guidelines on what to talk about with the kids once they finally get interactive with them. This is done to ensure that they do not speak about issues that could trigger the reoccurrence of any trauma or put the child in a bad mood after the relatives have left.

The most recent of this event was held on the 26th of July, when the Challenging Heights bus conveyed the families of the children expected to be reintegrated later this month to the Hovde House. The relatives were mostly from Winneba and Senya, two of the most notable source communities of trafficked children. The parents were taking through the routine prepping as the expectant children tried to keep their eyes in the classroom and hide their visible excitement. The usual issues such as the dangers of trafficking, the activities and the progress of the yet to be reintegrated children were talked about by the various staff at the centre.

Opanyin Kojo, a fisherman all the way from Yeji, shared a confession after the opportunity was given for the visiting families make contributions and ask questions. “Honestly, I just decided to represent the family of one of the kids here because I wanted to know exactly what Challenging Heights does, since I see them almost every year coming to rescue some of the children we work with on the lake. I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised and would do well to spread the good news when I go back to Yeji.” The other relatives also shared similar views of gratitude to the organization for giving their children the chance at life again.

The opportunity the children had been waiting for all day came when they closed after school. The hugs, smiles, surprises and even some occasional tears of joy glittered every area of the Hovde House. To some, it felt like a long journey finally reaching its stopping point while to others, it was the day they had a family once again. The children ended their day by having a photoshoot with their respective families before they headed back home. With waves and smiles, the kids waved the bus as it took its gentle steps out of the house, knowing that somewhere in their original homes, they have a family longing and yearning to receive them when the time comes.

Written By Intern: Kofi Agyei-Poku