Skip to content

What Started as an Attempt to Stop Child Trafficking in Ghana has Turned Traumatic 

A BBC Africa Eye investigation says Ghanaian children have been taken from their homes in an operation backed by one of the world’s leading anti-slavery organisations. The multimillion-dollar charity, International Justice Mission (IJM), aims to rescue trafficked children and reunite them with their families. But serious concerns have been raised about their West African operations. With around $100m in funding annually over the past two years, IJM is one of the world’s leading anti-trafficking organisations. In the UK, IJM says it can count on the support of nearly 300 churches, and more than $280,000 was raised last year from churches and other donors by IJM UK to support activities in Ghana. But according to the investigation, IJM has removed some children from their families in cases where there was scarce-to-no evidence of trafficking and this aggressive approach may have been fuelled by a target-driven culture inside IJM. In Ghana, IJM focuses on rescuing children who have been trafficked to work as slave labourers on Lake Volta, one of the world’s largest man-made lakes. In 2015, the charity began rescuing children who were spotted in canoes on the lake, but in 2018 it switched to night raids of on-shore locations where children were said to be kept overnight.