One of the world’s leading anti-slavery organisations, International Justice Mission (IJM), has insisted that there was no wrongdoing in its operation of rescuing some Ghanaian children from child trafficking, contrary to a recent report by BBC Africa Eye.
The BBC Africa Eye in an investigative report published on Monday, July 10, 2023, among other things alleged that some Ghanaian children were forcefully taken from their homes in an operation backed by IJM.
In its report, BBC also said, the children who were happily living with their relatives were unjustifiably removed from their homes without any evidence of going through one form of labour or the other.
Responding to this on the Point Blank segment on Eyewitness News on Citi FM, the Country Director for IJM, Anita Budu, said, “We have not found any wrongdoing from the team-IJM Ghana in this particular case. We are an organisation that prioritises the wellbeing and protection of every child, and safeguarding of every child, and this is what drives us. We are a learning organisation, and we will review our safeguarding policy”.
The Country Director of IJM described the revelation by the BBC Africa Eye as shocking and emphasized the need for the organisation to rescue the children from danger.
“Many of the revelations in the BBC report are quite shocking. We did our own internal inquiry and investigations into the case, and what we found out from our side is that there are a lot of inaccuracies in this documentary. We sent out information to the police and the fact of the case was outlined. Initially, the information gathered was not clear-cut, and so when it was presented to the authorities [police], a decision was made to intervene. And there was the need for the children to be out of that situation, and charges were brought against the suspects,” she emphasized.
According to her, they have a team of professionals who weigh the various trafficking issues before a rescue operation is carried out.
“A lot of back and forth happens within the team because you don’t just take one person’s word for it. We have professionals from different fields to discuss these cases and see the merits,” Madam Anita Budu explained to Selorm Adonoo.
She refuted claims that the police used guns to drive out the children from their various homes.
“The police made the intervention, from our observation, the police used a measured approach. We didn’t observe this situation of a gun,” the Country Director for IJM clarified.