At the start of 2020, roughly 160 million children (63 million girls and 97 million boys) were subjected to the everyday hell of child labour, (UNICEF, 2022). It is reported that this is the first massive increase in two decades. Children are forced or coerced into dangerous, detrimental, and hazardous forms of work. This statistic is both crushing and overwhelming. 160 million children were, and remain, forced into a life where home becomes foreign, where hope loses its light and future dreams shatter into the void of misery.
It is these future dreams, when full of hope and life, that traffickers prey upon.
Normally it's not what you'd see in the movies. It's not people in chains, but it's a promise for a better future.
That is the promise or hope that traffickers often prey upon.
Having dreamt of a better life for their son for many years, Hope's* family were excited when their neighbour gave him the opportunity to leave his village and receive an education. They were reassured that he would be given opportunities and experiences much great than what he could be given with them. Wanting only the best for their son and understanding that the family could not provide, Hope* and his mother agreed to the offer. However, what masqueraded as a life-changing chance for freedom was actually , and Hope* was thrown into forced labour.
Hope* was made to work under the gruelling conditions within Ghana's fishing industry. There is no age limit and sadly there are children as young as ten working there. Hope* lived with constant abuse, whilst fearing the possibility of drowning every day. Having to make sure that the nets would not become snagged underneath the boats, he was forced to go right under the water's surface and untangle them. A thought that no child should have to encounter, Hope* stated that when he had to do this, he feared he might die. After five long years of abuse, Hope* was found and by our partners, who worked alongside police to coordinate a rescue mission. Hope* is now studying to become an electrician and has joined our partners in the fight for to rescue other victims of forced labour.
The International Labour Organisation estimates roughly 8 million victims worldwide are suffering debt bondage at the very moment. Two major instigators of debt bondage are poverty and vulnerability. Someone who is desperate for a better life often give money to a traffickers who either promise a job abroad or a way of escape from their difficult circumstances situation. Most of the time, people cannot pay back the enormous debt they are in and have to find other ways to pay for it. Slavery is the devastatingly common route; lenders will claim that the person in debt or other family members can pay the money off by working - often in restaurants, salons and bars - but these establishments are filled with deceit. Often they are hidden brothels or a life sentence to forced labour. Rina* fell victim to this vicious lie but was lucky enough to get out... This is her story.
Rina* was forced into debt bondage at just 14 years old. Working at a restaurant to support her family, Rina* exploited was by her cruel boss. Insisting she owed money for uniforms, washing, broken dishes and more, the corrupt claim tallied up to $16,000. Rina* could not afford to pay back the exorbitant price and was made to work gruelling hours and do whatever customers asked of her.
Meanwhile, Rina's* family home was being raided by debt collectors who were after valuables and any other family members that could help Rina* pay off her debt. These visits, along with not hearing from her daughter for a long time, pushed Rina's* Mother to call the police. Rina* was rescued and reunited with her family. Now, she is in loving the care of our partners. Rina* was taken to SHE Rescue Home, and through the guidance and support of staff, she was able to begin vocational training and find her passion for cooking. Turning devastating circumstances into motivation, Rina* is working hard to become a chef.
Because of our community, the broken and exploited hope of countless children has been restored.
We are fighting against the crushing statistics with our incredible community of freedom fighters. Both Hope* and Rina's* stories highlight the amazing impact of our donations, merchandise purchases and online outreach. Hope* is on track to be an electrician, and Rina*, a chef. These dreams were stolen from them by the cruel grip of slavery, but now, they have been restored. Our partner's programs not only provide rescue, but after-care support and empowerment. Through the encouragement of mentors and counsellors, Hope* and Rina* have gone on to live in the fullness freedom.
We believe that every child deserves this same future. You can fight to make a change in the lives of these children. Shop, donate and share our educational social media content. Thank you for fighting for freedom.