Ghana celebrates 55 years of independence today. As the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve autonomy from European Colonialism, it has much to take pride in. To most Ghanaians, this day symbolizes freedom.
Ghana may be politically free, but not everyone can rejoice today. Like in most countries around the world, slavery still exists in Ghana. As tourists visit the castles and dungeons of Cape Coast to hear the horror stories of the ancient slave trade, many Ghanaians remain enslaved. The practice survives in many forms: child trafficking in fishing and domestic servitude, debt bondage in gold mining, child labor in cocoa farming, and sex trafficking and forced prostitution.
But Ghanaians do not sit idly by as these terrible acts occur. Free The Slaves supports grassroots efforts to end slavery in the country.
FTS partner Challenging Heights, headed up by Freedom Award winner and survivor James Kofi Annan, works with communities to identify and carry out daring rescues of children in fishing slavery along Lake Volta, supports them as they recover, and reunites them with their families.
Two FTS partners, Social Support Foundation and the Network for Community Planning and Development, are hard at work in informal mining communities helping small-scale miners gain access to land and legal licenses so that they can lift themselves out of debt bondage. Alongside this work, FTS is undertaking groundbreaking research on violence against children within small-scale mining communities.
Twenty-five organizations comprise the nascent but strong Ghana Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Coalition, which is currently leading efforts to raise awareness and carry out interventions against sex trafficking.
Today we salute you, Ghana, for starting a wave of political and economic liberation in Africa. We also salute you in your efforts to end modern-day slavery, and we await the day we can all celebrate the eradication of slavery in Ghana, Africa and beyond.