All along Ghana's Cape coast, the old granite fortresses are now museums, bitter reminders of the colonial slave trade. Grim-faced tourists pay to see the musty dungeons, rattle the rusting chains, and open the doors that led to the slave ships.
But just down the road from the Cape Coast museums, slavery isn't about roots and it isn't about history. Today in Ghana, somewhere between five and seven thousand children ply the waters of Lake Volta, fishing. They have masters.
They don't get paid. They don't go to school. And if they try to escape they are beaten. The going rate to buy a five-year-old child is ten dollars - cheaper now than it was 200 years ago when people were being loaded onto ships.
The story of modern child slavery in Ghana isn't straightforward or simple. Even the villains of the piece have a case. It's a story of trade-offs between development and grinding poverty, between school and food, between children and parents and police. There is no quick-fix and no easy ending here.
In the middle of it, an unassuming man named Jack Dawson uses whatever transportation he can find - rusty van, old bicycle, strong feet - to take him to where the child slaves are. So he can begin the extremely delicate process of trying to save at least a few of them. It's in the bustling marketplace of Yeji, a city on the shores of the man-made Lake Volta, that the children are first sold. And that's where CBC producer David Gutnick begins his documentary, called: Fishing for My Master.
|Fishing for My Master: Slavery in Ghana|
Fishing for My Master: Slavery in Ghana was produced by CBC's David Gutnik. The show was mixed by Jared Weissbrot.
Sons for Sale
Sent at young ages, boys are forced into labor in Ghana's lake communities even though Ghana passed a law against child trafficking in December 2005.
Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity - and My Journey to Freedom in America
by: Francis Bok, Edward Tivnan 2003
Then a seven-year-old Sudanese boy, Francis Piol Bol Buk was captured into slavery for ten years, survived through prison and refugee camps until he was brought to America and testified in Congress about the slave trade in Sudan.