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2016 (Narrative date)

There are an estimated 133,000 people living in modern slavery in Ghana (GSI 2018). Ghana remains a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture, including cocoa. Research focused on the fishing industry on Lake Volta indicated that more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor; not allowed to attend school; given inadequate housing and clothing; and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer waterborne infections.

Gideon’s grandparents sent him to a man who promised to take care of him and help him go to school. Instead, the man enslaved Gideon in a fishing boat on Lake Volta in Ghana.

I’m from Ningo. I don’t know my age. I was young and healthy, I just wanted to go to school. My boss is wicked. He took me from my mother and brought me here. 

Whenever my boss beat me. I’d tell him that I want to go back home. But he’d tell me that my mum is dead and there’s no reason for me to go back. When my brother and I were fishing. We talked about if our mother is alive, we should go be with her.

He beat my little brother. My little brother is seven years old. I love my brother and he loved me too.

I want my brother to join me. I want you to rescue him like you rescued us.


Narrative provided by IJM

Original narrative can be found