James Kofi Annan, from Ghana, shared his experiences as a survivor of modern day slavery, when he met the Global Freedom Network Council in Rome on 16 June.
James, when six years old, was sent into slavery in the fishing trade on Lake Volta in Ghana. James described his horrific seven years on Lake Volta, where he was beaten and tortured, forced to work 17-hour days, and witnessed other children being beaten to death. He finally escaped to freedom at the age of 13 and overcame lack of formal schooling to go on to university. After graduation he rose to a managerial position at Barclays Bank of Ghana. He has since established his own organisation, Challenging Heights, which helps children who are at risk of human trafficking and enslavement.
Since 2003, James has dedicated himself full time to working with vulnerable children in Ghana. James said he was deeply encouraged by the Global Freedom Network and urged that faith leaders worldwide rose up and save those enslaved and bring an end to modern slavery, which has destroyed so many lives. He reached out, he said, to Cardinal Turkson, particularly, as he was from Ghana and could carry the plight of the enslaved to Church leaders worldwide through the Global Freedom Network.
The Global Freedom Network describes modern slavery and human trafficking as crimes against humanity, and welcomes all faiths and religious leaders to join forces and combat this evil crime together.