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22.10.2008 General News

27 million people engage in modern day slavery


It is estimated that there are over 27 million people engaged in modern day slavery across the globe.

These include fishing, stone quarrying, sexual exploitation, domestic and ritual servitude, among others.

In Ghana, over 2.4 million children aged between 5-13 years are economically active with over 1.27 million of them engaged in child labour and over 242,000 of this figure engaged in its worst forms such as child prostitution, quarrying and domestic servitude.

Mr James Kofi Annan, founder of Challenging Heights, a child oriented NGO, presenting the "Frederick Douglass Award" he won to the media on Tuesday, entreated the government to become actively involved in how to combat child labour.

"We must conduct research to ascertain the true picture of the problem and also stop playing politics with issues that concern the welfare of children. This admission will lead to greater and innovative action to address the problem," he said.

The Mr Annan, who is a former banker with Barclays Bank, commended the government for the introduction of capitation grant and the LEAP program since they would help minimise the causes of child labour.

He said the Frederick Douglass Freedom Award was given to a survivor of the worst forms of slavery and now engaged in activities aimed at liberating people in slavery.

"The award honours the tremendous resilience of the human spirit and emphasizes that many of the survivors of modern day slavery go on to help others to freedom."

The award, which was sponsored by Free the Slaves, an international anti-slavery organisation, was held in the US about two months ago. As part of the award, he was given 20,000 US dollars and a plaque.

Mr Emmanuel Otoo, West African Coordinator of Free the Slaves, thanked Mr Annan for the initiative and urged all to come on board to fight against anything which militated against the well-being of children.

Source: GNA