Accepted paper:

Independent child migration in Ghana

Authors:

Þóra Björnsdóttir (University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation examines the life of people in Ghana, who migrated before the age of fifteen without the company of a parent or a legal guardian. Their life story, current activities, and their eventual involvement in anti-trafficking activities will be discussed.

Paper long abstract:

Children who live in poverty decide at times to migrate independently at young age in search for better life conditions. In some places children migrate because of lack of opportunities of employment and education in their home town. They seek to gain experience, knowledge and to provide income for themselves and their family. Institutions and NGOs have increasingly tried to prevent child migration arguing they become vulnerable to neglect, maltreatment and trafficking. The presentation examines the life of people in Ghana, who migrated before the age of fifteen without the company of a parent or a legal guardian; their life story and current activities, how anti-trafficking activities have affected their lives, and how global and local institutions, NGOs and the government deal with them. The data collection took place in Accra through qualitative methodology. Results show that most participants were happy with the decision of migrating and believed current life to be better than what they had before. However, most of the interviewees claimed they would choose to move back to the hometown if they had the same opportunities as in the city. It can be very difficult to return back home because the family and the society expects the children to return in better situation than before. Neither children nor adults are much aware about trafficking and do not regard themselves as victims of such crime.

panel P012
Independent child migration in an interconnected world