The Fishing Boys of Lake Volta





It is estimated that 7,000-10,000 fishing boys work on the shores and in the waters of eastern Ghana’s Lake Volta. Born into poverty, many of these boys are given away or sold to relatives or strangers who promise to teach the boys the fishing trade and give them a better life. Removed from their families and homes, the fishing boys find themselves on a vast manmade lake that will become a virtual prison for the remainder of their childhood years. The fishing boys are denied medical care, the opportunity to attend school, and are forced to work long, 14 + hour days year-round.

With the help of advocates such as Eric Peasah, Director of Right to be Free and consultant for the International Organization for Migration, some of these boys are set free. Eric negotiates with the boys’ traffickers for their freedom. His program offers the fisherman assistance in the form of a small loan to support their fishing, new supplies, or the chance to learn a different vocation. Additionally, they must sign a social contract agreeing to release any remaining child laborers in the future, or they will face criminal prosecution.

If there’s one thing that keeps me doing what I’m doing, it’s that. It’s watching those kids go from being kids without hope, and kids without any light in their eyes, kids without any play in their hearts, to being free, happy kids again.
— Kevin Bales in Not My Life