ANYAMAM, ADA, GHANA – On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, ten survivors of child trafficking gathered in Anyamam, Ghana to advocate for an end to child trafficking. Christened by the survivor leaders as “Hope In Freedom,” the group is a new chapter of the Ghana Survivor Network (GSN), an initiative of the International Justice Mission (IJM). The GSN forms part of the larger Global Survivor Network, an international group of survivors leading a movement to protect communities from violence.
The local chapter is set in an area that is a major source of child trafficking, but the members are poised to change the narrative of their community. “For so long, we suffered in silence, but we survived,” said group coordinator, Mr. Dortumor Wisdom. “When we were rescued, our hopes to freely live and pursue our goals were restored. We, therefore, have a heavy weight to ensure no child goes through what we have.”
The launch was a collaborative effort of IJM, the Ada West District Assembly, the Ada West Department of Social Welfare (DSW), the Anyamam Local Council of Churches, and the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC).
Speaking at the event, Mr. Worlanyo Kojo Forster, the National Director of Advocacy and Partnerships at IJM said, “The GSN network seeks to bring together survivors of trafficking. These survivors will use their voices to encourage our leaders to bring an end to trafficking on the Volta Lake. IJM pledges to support the survivors to bring change to their communities.”
The District Chief Executive of Ada West District, Hon. Sampson Kpankpa, highlighted the need for a collaborative effort from all stakeholders to fight against human trafficking in the district: “The work IJM, through the GSN, has started will complete the district sensitization plan to sensitize people on human trafficking,” he said. In addition, he stated that the assembly is fully committed to ending the trafficking of persons, especially children and is “ready to commit the needed resources to make sure the mission of ending trafficking is achieved.”
As part of the collaborative effort to end trafficking in the Ada West District, the Acting District Police Commander, Ben Lamptey, encouraged the public to share information on suspected trafficking within the community with the police. This information enables police to rescue victims and arrest perpetrators of human trafficking.
The Senior Lead for the Global Survivor Network, Josephine Aparo, said, “‘Hope in Freedom’ is rising as leaders in this community, but they are not standing alone. They are joining with survivor leaders across other parts of Ghana who are advocating against child trafficking in their communities, sharing their stories, and making sure this does not happen to any other child.”
Others present at the launch were the chief of Anyamam, Nene Narhteynor Abayateye IV; Country Director of IJM Ghana, Will Lathrop; District DSW Director, Abigail Teye; along with members of the clergy; community members; and other invited guests.