MIHOSO International, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has rescued two teenagers who were trafficked to Yeji in the Pru District of the Brong-Ahafo Region to fish on the Volta Lake.
The victims, only known as Kwame Remember, 12, and Kwadwo Abraham, 13, are currently in the custody of the Pru District office of the Department of Social Welfare.
They are yet to be reintegrated with their families at Tegbui Kpota, near Keta, and Winneba respectively.
The scars at the back, thigh, forehead and stomach of the victims are indications they have gone through worst forms of torture, labour and exploitation.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Yeji, Mr Pontius N. Ninwiiri, the Project Officer of MIHOSO International, expressed concern about the alarming rate of child trafficking, labour and exploitation in the Pru, Banda and Asutifi South Districts of the Region.
He said the situation was very disheartening as perpetrators used the victims, mostly below 15 years, for commercial fishing at Pru, illegal mining activities at Asutifi South, and forced marriage at Banda.
Mr Ninwiiri said his outfit had received information about three girls, who had been trafficked to the Banda District, to go into forced marriage, adding the NGO was working tirelessly to rescue the victims.
He said the psychological effects of child trafficking and exploitation were enormous as victims went through worst forms of labour and molestations in the hands of their masters.
Mr Ninwiiri said it required societal support to help curtail the problem and appealed to the public to provide information about suspected cases to rescue victims and arrest perpetrators for prosecution.
Narrating his ordeal to the GNA, one of the victims, Remember, said he had been fishing on the Volta Lake in the past two years with one Yakana Awuvui, a fisherman believed to be his uncle.
The victim said he was staying with his mother at Kpodoaave, near Abotoase, adding that in 2015 her mother forced and sent him to stay with the uncle at Yeji-Jaklai.
According to the victim, who could not control his tears, since he stayed with his supposed uncle, he had denied him formal education and subjected him to worst forms of labour and torture.
“My uncle always woke me up at dawn to follow him to the Volta Lake. We fish on the lake and return around 1100 hours every day. The day I will tell my uncle that I am tired, he subject me to severe beatings and denied me food,” he added.
The other victim, Abraham, who was found roaming at “Station One” a quarter of Yeji, said his parents had been divorced for some years now.
He said he was staying with her step mother at Winneba before his father, who was a fisherman, picked him up to stay with him at Anlo Kope, near Accra New Town, a fishing community in the Pru District.
Abraham explained that his father had not allowed him to go to school and was always with him on the Volta Lake for fishing.
He said the workload was burdensome as he was the only one staying with his father, adding “Going for fishing and doing house chores are too much to bear”.
The victim, who said he wanted to go to school, appealed to MIHOSO International and other NGOs to adopt and support him to be enrolled in school.
He added that many of his age mates had also dropped out of school going through similar exploitations on the Volta Lake.
Mr Gaeten B. Gbang, the Pru District Officer of MIHOSO International, said collective approach was required to rescue many school-going age boys and girls who fish on the Volta Lake.
He expressed regret that most of the victims went through economic hardships and hostilities and were denied freedom, education, good health care.
Mr Gbang said it was, therefore, imperative for the Government to step up measures to bring the situation under control.
He urged the police to intensify patrol on the Volta Lake and arrest and prosecute perpetrators to serve as deterrent to others.
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