Sold by their parents, around 20,000 children work on the lake, enslaved by the fishermen they call “master.”
Dawn breaks over the water. Adam leads a column of five other boys through the high, golden grass to the softly lapping edge of Lake Volta in Ghana’s central region. The group of boys will spend the better part of the day fishing under a hot equatorial sun.
They’ve come from different towns, at different times, but they all have one thing in common. Each one of them was bought by the same fisherman to come and work as his slave.
Enslaved on the lake
“Every morning we wake up and we go to the lake, we paddle, remove the nets,” says Adam. “Then we come back, remove the fish, prepare the nets for the next casting and around 4pm, we go back to cast the net.”
Adam doesn’t know his own age, but appears to be about 12-years-old. He estimates he’s worked for Samuel, the man he calls “master,” for around three years. “I don’t want to be here,” says Adam. “I want to go to school, but I’m forced to be here.”
Adam is just one of 20,000 children on Lake Volta who the International Labour Organization reports are working for slave masters.
Most of the children come to the lake from hundreds of miles away. They are sold by their desperately poor parents to human traffickers, sometimes for as little as $250, which in this area, is what it would cost to purchase a cow.
CNN joined Adam and five other enslaved children working for Samuel, to witness what a typical day on the lake looks like for them. It started in the pre-dawn hours. The young crew loaded the gear onto a wooden boat and pushed off into the water.
To view the full multimedia story by Leif Coorlim, Petter Rudden, and Michal Przedlacki on CNN: Click HereTags: child labor, Ghana