Henry Amanor is a Compassion project coordinator for New Ningo Child Development Centre in Ghana. In the New Ningo community, he fights tirelessly to protect children from child trafficking. Vera Mensah-Bediako recently caught up with him to find out more:
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Henry Tetteh Amanor, the project coordinator for New Ningo Methodist Child Development Centre, Ghana.
Before I joined Compassion, I was part of the Christian Council of Ghana where I was trained on child trafficking issues as a child protector. I find child trafficking a great injustice so I have a passion for protecting children.
Can you briefly describe how child trafficking occurs in your region of Ghana?
There is recruitment, where somebody will come, gather children, move or transport them to a place far away from their community and then exploit them by forcing them to work. Sometimes, the children are even sold.
It is about taking children out of their protective environment and preying on their vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation. It is a form of human trafficking into slavery.
How did you develop a passion for preventing child trafficking?
Most times, the people who come to recruit children to be taken away, come with a lot of lies. They come pretending to show interest in the welfare of the family. They promise the caregiver a lot of good things such as enrolling the child in school, and [that they] will bring them back during every holiday and send money to the family every month. But all these are not true.
Sometimes these recruiters name towns very close to the child’s community as the destination the children shall be taken to, and assure the caregiver that they could always pay visits to the child at any time. But in actual fact, they take them very far away where the child can never find his or her way back home.
On many occasions, some of these children die without their parents even getting to know.
I find this too unjust and because of my passion to protect children, I want to be an active contributor in educating caregivers on the activities of the human traffickers.
How does poverty relate to child trafficking?
Poverty is the major cause for child trafficking. At least that is what about 99.5 per cent of parents here say who gave their children out. They will tell you that if they have three children who are not in school because of a lack of funds, and someone takes one away to be put into school and even gives you money with which you can register the other two in school, why won’t they do it?
How does your Compassion project prevent child trafficking?
At the project, we hold parent meetings to train caregivers on child protection and preventing child trafficking. We know parents so well and this means our caregivers are fully informed on such issues.
Teaching parents about child protection.
In the project, we talk to children and young people and expose them to all they need to know about their rights. The youth are trained to be each other’s keepers. They watch out and know to report any time they suspect a child to be trafficked or abused. They are so zealous but this is a good thing!
I know that in a few years to come when these young people grow older, New Ningo will be free of child traffickers altogether.