In Denial About Child Slavery

I was researching child slavery in Ghana and ran across this post, about the Oprah Show that was the genesis for | Click Here

One of the readers of the post had this comment:

I think this story has been exaggerated. I am from Ghana and I grew up there and there is no such thing as child slavery. The children are not forced to work and they are definitely not treated like slaves, unless they end up with a wicked family. turning backs 2This is just the only way these poor people can earn money for their daily lives. Some of these children even go to school and the school fees are paid by the family they are helping. I don’t know the story of these particular seven children, but I know for sure that what I am saying is what mainly happens. Very rarely do you find children “captured in the chains of slavery.” I personally think that is absolute rubbish. If anything, the issue should be child labour because the children’s families are paid every month (most of the time). It is definitely not as though the child has been sold to a whole new family for the rest of their life. This is a very huge exaggeration.
– Posted by: Anyeley

Here was my response:

Anyeley, if it is a very huge exaggeration, then what do you make of the U.S. State Department of Trafficking report issued in June of 2006 that says…

“Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked within the country as domestic servants, cocoa plantation laborers, street vendors, porters, for work in the fishing industry, and for use in sexual exploitation. IOM estimates that the number of trafficked children working in fishing villages along the Volta Lake is in the thousands. Children are also trafficked to and from Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, and The Gambia as domestic servants, laborers, and in the fishing industry. Children and women are trafficked for sexual exploitation from Ghana to Europe, from Nigeria through Ghana to Europe, and from Burkina Faso through Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire.” Source:

Anyeley did not come back to respond. But Anyeley represents the reason why this and other blogs like it are necessary. We MUST wake the world up to the truth about the scope of child slavery in our world. We must not close our eyes!


  1. I understand how abhorrant child labour is to us in the developed world . However it is important to look at the big picture . In an ideal world children would not need to work . We do not live in an ideal world and in LD countries the wages that children bring in to the home can mean that a family eats for that day . My grandmother worked as a child here in NZ as we were a developing economy then . Now our children do not need to work to susrvive. I have spent many years living in various West African countires . I have seen many children working some I am sure a forced however the majority are working to simply survive, and rather than vifily them it would be helpful if we in the developed world paid fairly and support children in Africia so they have basic education and health care . I am very concerned with the latest interantional moves to outlaw traffciking . Presently child labour is very very very visible in west Africa and abuse is very visbile this gives NGO’s a chance to intercede . If it goes under ground we are putting the very children we are tring to liberate in avery peralious situaction . I often have discussions with people about Africa and they view it through their own cultural lense this is not helpful . Africa is Africa and needs to be viewed from an African lense .

  2. Kariana,

    Thank you for your comment. You are correct. We are looking at this through our own world view. But I’m not talking about child labor, I’m talking about child slavery… forced labor. A poor child who must work, and is able to return home to his/her family, is not the same as a child who is taken from his/her family and forced to work in a brothel as a sex slave, or forced to work period.

    Your suggestion is, however, right on track as far as I’m concerned: “…rather than vilify them it would be helpful if we in the developed world paid fairly and support children in Africa so they have basic education and health care.” I agree 100%. There are many sides to this issue. The solution is not as simple as jailing traffickers. Education is a key, on many levels. But in order for American’s to change their buying habits and become an active part of the “pay fairly” side of things, we must awaken them.

    That said, many forms of trafficking deserve to be vilified.

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