Months of active action
We’ve been a little lax, the website hasn’t been updated for a few months but there are numerous reasons for this.
Our Outreach Worker & Administrative Assistant have been incredibly busy on the ground, gaining support from the team in France who in turn have been endeavouring to gain further support and awareness of the centre; both locally in Cote d’Ivoire by phone and e-mail as well as on an international level as finding funding is a constant worry. This work is carried out after hours as we all have full-time jobs which has unfortunately kept us away from updating the website.
Locally we’re getting our region of Moyen Comoe mapped, researching in villages and campements to find out what the trafficking situation is currently (there is a lot of it). We’re also carrying out sensibilisation projects in the region with the support of the local authorities, chefs and main community members.
Added to this, we have a team at the bus station area keeping us updated as to any children arriving from elsewhere (for instance, we have a direct bus to/from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso via Ghana a few days a week as well as multiple daily buses from just over the border in Ghana). There’s the monitoring of two young girls currently both under 10 years old, both victims of traffick living in town, one is Burkinabe whilst the other is Togolese. We heard of a 10 year old boy almost a month ago who was sold about 30km south of us for 230euros into a cocoa plantation. The list sadly continues …
On a positive note, we’ve had a variety of UN agencies applaud our initiative, we don’t feel so out in the cold wondering – did we do the right thing? Setting up as the first transit centre for trafficked children in Cote d’Ivoire where it’s needed. Our work has a long way to go but we’re certainly going in the right direction and we have a great team on the ground in Abengourou!
We have had the pleasure of hosting a specialised consultant for just over a fortnight who works with two of the larger international agencies involved in trafficking.
Last week the same two agencies carried out a raid in the west of Cote d’Ivoire involving 200 personnel, rescuing 48 children from 5 to 16 years old and arresting 22 people in relation to trafficking. The children will remain in that region as it takes more than a day to get there from Abengourou by road. Coincidentally, this rescue mission was carried out in the largest cocoa producing region of Cote d’Ivoire, where many larger chocolate companies source their cocoa from …
Photo credits: INTERPOL, Operation Akoma, San Pedro, Cote d’Ivoire.