The government is protesting a recent CNN documentary that estimated that about 20,000 child slaves are working as fishermen on Lake Volta.
According to the government, the documentary does not show the efforts of the government to address the challenge of child labour on the Volta Lake.
CNN in the past week has been airing the documentary which highlights the history and impact of the practice, but according to the government, the producers of the documentary failed to highlight its work and the successes achieved.
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said he reached out to CNN via phone and a letter to inform them that while the government acknowledges the practice, it has worked in the last decade to curb the issue leading to significant successes.
In the documentary, the producers said “the lake, which was only created in 1965 with the construction of a hydro-electric dam, is home to an estimated 20,000 child slaves.
“Children as young as five are sold to human traffickers and made to work as fishermen for up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They are beaten. They are abused. They eat scraps off the table and sleep on the dirt.”
“Some of these children drown when forced to dive under the water to untangle fishing nets. These forgotten children become yet another anonymous corpse resting at the bottom of the lake. When they die, no one is there to grieve for them and no one is punished for enslaving and endangering them. The only loss is a financial one. The fisherman who bought the child had paid the price of a cow to turn him into a slave,” the documentary said.
The documentary featured an assembly member of the Krachi West District in the Volta Region, Prince Latif Oyekunle who said: “government is aware of the problem and is working on strategies to rescue the children from their “masters”.
“We haven’t started implementation yet, but we have discussed it as the executive committee meeting and at some general assembly meetings”.
But according to the government, CNN through its producer and Executive Editor, Leif Coorlim said the State had been given an opportunity in the documentary to update on its efforts to resolve the challenge but was willing to offer a more comprehensive platform to outline the resolution of the practice.
It said the CNN had has agreed to grant the government of Ghana a platform to respond to the suppositions in the documentary which will air this week.
Some Ghanaians who have seen the documentary expressed their dissatisfaction over the reportage and urged the government to act on it.
The Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa also in a Facebook post said, “This report cannot be good for our international image.”
“Reports of this nature can have far reaching ramifications if not strongly challenged when the claims are disputable or adequately responded to in terms of Government’s remedial measures, that is, if we concede that truly 20,000 children live in SLAVERY on the volta lake though I honestly have my doubts.
Silence must not be an option,” he posted on his Facebook wall on Saturday.
By: Jonas Nyabor | citinewsroom.com | Ghana