Thursday, January 28, 2010

Trouble In The Hood

Our night guard showed up at the Centre one day last week to see me at work. This was unusual. So was his request: he wanted the rest of the week off! Wow, that’s pretty short notice! But when I heard the reason, I understood why.

It seems that some people suspected of kidnapping children had been spotted in his neighbourhood. His family was scared and did not want to be alone at night when such kidnappings could more easily occur.

A bit of research revealed that trafficking in children is big business in this part of the world. In one town near the Ghanaian border, I remember seeing billboards warning the citizens of Burkina of this evil. Just a few days ago, a vehicle carrying a number of young, teenage boys was stopped near the Burkina – Ivory Coast border. The policeman who stopped the vehicle was suspicious and it’s a good thing he was! The boys were destined as cheap labour on coco plantations in Ivory Coast. They had apparently been lured away from their homes and villages by promises of high-paying work in this neighbouring country. But once they arrived there, they would be kept in slavery conditions and forced to work long days for little more than a daily meal.

Sometimes babies and younger children are kidnapped and sold to people and agencies in neighbouring countries and even Europe who are looking to supply the demand for adoption. Scary, eh? I gave our guard the rest of the week off and scrambled to look for a replacement for the next few nights.


Healed1337 said...

That is pretty scary. Hopefully you can find a replacement guard.

Mike Steinborn said...

Yes, we did. Our night guard is back at work this week though. He called in his oldest son, who was living somewhere else, to come and stay with the family at night. We've not heard of any more sightings or trouble since then.