Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The exploitation of Ghanaians, particularly children, within the country is more prevalent than the transnational trafficking of foreign nationals. 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 [as well as prostitution].

--2016 Trafficking In Persons Report

rescuing, rehabilitating and educating child laborers on fishing boats on Lake Volta, Ghana


James Kofi Annan, the founder of Challenging Heights, is a survivor of this form of slavery. He escaped as a child and has devoted his life to rescuing and rehabilitating today's young victims, as young as two years old. The children are taken from impoverished families and are enslaved without pay or education. They are abused on the boats and in the villages where they are forced to live, and frequently malnourished, hit with paddles, and drown when they are forced to dive into the waters to untangle fishing nets.

Challenging Heights offers educational support for children who have survived slavery, and for at-risk children in the poorest communities in Ghana. The organization reintegrates children back into society so they can live normal lives, and educates their parents on the dangers their children face from traffickers. Challenging Heights ensures that children are never vulnerable to slavery again. 

Impact in 2015

  • 70 boys and girls rescued from slavery (including 40 rescued directly from Lake Volta)
  • 118 children cared for at the rehabilitation center
  • 74 survivors of slavery with their families
  • 82 rescued children now attend school
  • Freedom For All raised funds for a new bus, which has been used in rescue operations on Lake Volta to transport children safely to the shelter, and bring the children home to their families when they are ready. It also takes children at the shelter to school.

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