Children United Against Trafficking in Persons
On the occasion of the International Day of Friendship and the first annual World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30 July), we are featuring the efforts of IOM Ghana ‘friends’ in raising awareness and funding to support the rescue, rehabilitation, return and reintegration of children trafficked into the fishing industry. These Days are an opportunity to unite together and value our relationships; while continuing to fight against inhumane practices such as trafficking in persons.
Inspirational, Innovative, Impactful – these are just three ways to describe the dynamic duo of Mark and Rosanne Rosen, founders of GlobalGrandparenting. World travellers, the Rosens witnessed first-hand the dire situation of children living in India, Nepal and Ghana.
When an article appeared in the New York Times (October 2006), describing the dangerous conditions for children trafficked to the fishing industry in Ghana and IOM’s efforts to rescue children and work with communities, they did not hesitate to act. They had a grandson the same age as the boy profiled in the article. Rosanne explained, “Our own situation is a matter of luck and circumstance. These children deserve to have grandparents supporting them.” Thus began their journey with GlobalGrandparenting and a mission to spread the word to others in their community in Columbus, Ohio and across the United States.
In 2014, the Rosens started an initiative called Children Saving Children, to fundraise for the rescue of 20 children trafficked to the fishing industry in Ghana. Reflecting on the response they have received from children in their community, Rosanne said, “Once children are empowered with information about what is happening in Ghana they want to do something.” Even if they can only donate one dollar towards the rescue, these children are taking a stand against harmful practices.
The first children’s event is set to take place on Sunday, 7 September, a benefit concert by the Urban Strings youth orchestra, a unique group of musicians that hail from across Columbus. The next event has children putting their sneakers on, a walkathon, to be held at Columbus International High School on Sunday, 17 September.
Those children who participated in Children Saving Children events will be formally recognized for their efforts at a fundraiser to be held at the Lincoln Center on 5 October.
All proceeds from the Children Saving Children events and future events hosted by GlobalGrandparenting will be donated to the US Association for International Migration (USAIM), IOM’s charity partner in the United States. USAIM has teamed up with GlobalGrandparenting with the goal to raise funds towards the rescue of 20 trafficked children in Ghana in 2015.
Mark and Rosanne aim to raise USD 100,000 this year to facilitate the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of these children. You, too, can make a difference: “to change one life is to change the world,” urges Rosanne.
Since 2002 IOM, in partnership with the Government of Ghana and local stakeholders, has rescued 732 children from the fishing industry in Ghana and facilitated their rehabilitation and reintegration with parents and/or guardians (see “Support Trafficked Children in Ghana”).
If you are interested in learning more about GlobalGrandparenting and USAIM and how you can get involved in efforts to raise money for the rescue of trafficked children, please visit the following websites: www.usaim.org/Ghana and www.usaim.org/GlobalGrandparenting