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Kwame and Joe

2017 (Narrative date)

In 2016, the estimates of modern slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for approximately 13.6 percent of the world's total enslaved population. As evident from surveys conducted in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia by Walk Free Foundation, slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa takes the form of forced labour and forced marriage. In Ghana, survey results suggest that there are an estimated 103,300 people enslaved in that country, of which 85 percent are in forced labour, and 15 percent are in forced marriage. For forced labour, the main industries of concern are farming and fishing, retail sales and then manual labour and factory work. In Nigeria, survey results suggest that forced labour is predominantly within the domestic sector, although it was impossible to survey in three regions due to high conflict. In South Africa, the industries most reported in the survey include the commercial sex industry, manual labour industries such as construction, manufacturing and factory work, and drug trafficking.

Kwame, 14, and Joe, 12, were sold by their mother to a fisherman in Ghana.

Our mother has sold us many times. There is only starvation and no safe home, so she sends us away. One time we were sent to Yeji. Our master was not a good person to us, he hit us with the paddle. We would go out on the fishing boat, with only one pull of food each day. We escaped when the master heard they were arresting people who had kids working on the boats. Now we live with a neighbour; she sends us to school. Sometimes we talk about going back to live with our mum, we miss her.


As told to the Guardian