Free the Slaves team based in Ghana shared wit a remarkable success story. Kwezi* was sent to fishing slavery by his mother for a payment of $10 from a trafficker. He is just 7 years old. Poverty and large family sizes often prompt vulnerable families to sell a child into slavery. Many people do not know that slavery is a crime.
Tricked by the trafficker, Kwezi left his childhood home with expectations of better treatment and more opportunities. But he was forced instead to work on dangerous, deadly fishing boats, with very little food or rest. “I lived and worked against my will, under my master,” he said. “I woke up at dawn and worked on the Volta Lake until dusk; bailing water out of the boat, paddling the boat, assisting in the pulling of the net and assisting in the processing of fish at home with my master’s wife.”
Fortunately, Free the Slaves has been organizing villagers in the region where Kwezi was enslaved. We help residents form Community Child Protection Committees that teach parents about child rights. Committee members are on constant lookout for child trafficking victims. When they learned of Kwezi’s situation, they partnered with government officials to pressure the trafficker to release him.
Kwezi is now free, but that is only part of the story. What happens after a child is liberated is just as important as the liberation itself. Kwezi is receiving medical and psychological care, including a screening for COVID-19. He’s getting proper nutrition and remedial schooling.
He will remain in a transitional shelter as he recovers from the traumatic ordeal of child slavery. Social workers will ensure that when Kwezi is ready to return home, he will not be re-trafficked.
Kwezi now has a team of experts who will ensure that the trajectory of his life has forever changed. Free the Slaves and our network of specialists are working to safeguard Kwezi’s future, and to protect other children in his village from being sent away in the first place.
By establishing small savings and loan associations, and by assisting in the development of new job opportunities, Free the Slaves builds economic resilience. This creates community resistance to child slavery and prevents traffickers from targeting vulnerable families. We’re currently providing masks and hygiene kits to prevent COVID-19 from overtaking villages and increasing vulnerability.
Success stories like Kwezi’s are happening every day in communities where the Free the Slaves holistic approach to sustainable freedom is at work. Your contribution will allow us to continue and expand this vital human rights work. Thank you for helping to make freedom possible for everyone, everywhere.