Ghana: Historien om en børneslave

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ACCRA, 23 March 2010 (IRIN): Eight-year-old Nana Yaw, who is being treated at Central Regions Winneba Government Hospital for a severe respiratory infection, was sold by his mother for 50 US dollar (275 DKR) in 2008.

For nearly two years his owners forced him to dive for several hours a day to collect fishing nets in Lake Volta.

– I ate once a day and I was severely beaten any time I complained I was sick, he told IRIN. He contracted a severe respiratory infection. His owners dumped him at the hospital and left.

His doctor, Dodi Abdallah, told IRIN: – He was nearly unconscious when we received him. Nobody was here for him. We were just lucky someone knew his mother.

Nana Yaws mother, Susan Aidoo, told IRIN why she sold her son.

– His father died and the family accused me of killing him so they refused to perform the funeral rites. I needed money so I gave my son to a friend who gave me some money for the funeral and to buy some toffees for me to sell, she said in tears.

Every year in Ghana hundreds of children are sold into forced labour by parents desperate to raise money for the upkeep of the family, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Some 28 percent of Ghanas 22 million people are poor, according to the 2010 human poverty index which measures people’s ability to live a healthy life beyond age 40, access education, basic healthcare and clean water.

– The child trafficking crisis we are witnessing in Ghana is fundamentally a result of stark and unacceptable levels of poverty, Daniel Kwaku Sam, the IOM’s counter-trafficking field coordinator, told IRIN.

IOM, the lead agency working with the government to stop child trafficking in Ghana, liaises with the National Board for Small-Scale Industries to pay families in vulnerable rural communities 160 dollar per child to keep them at home and send them to school.

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