Ghana's Disposable Children • Ian Berry • Magnum Photos

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Environment

Ghana’s Disposable Children

Ian Berry's book, 'Sold Into Slavery ' explores how in Ghana children as young as 4 or 5 are sold by their parents to local fishermen

Ian Berry

Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery In the shadow of the old slave fort, fishermen still buy young boys from their parents to work without pay or schooling. Cape Coast, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery Children still work for the fishermen who have bought them, here under the shadow of the old slave fort. Cape Coast, Ghana. 2007 © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery Children sold by their parents to fishermen on Lake Volta. The children work long hours, are badly fed and get no schooling. Yeji, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery Children work folding nets and repairing them with a razorblade (left). Yeji, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery Children bought by the fishermen from their parents try to put up a tarpaulin to create shade. Yeji, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery A woman official berates a fisherman for using nets that are too small and underage children. Lake Volta, Yeji, Ghana. 2007 © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery Fishermen and women bring ashore their catch on the banks of Lake Volta. Yeji, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery George Achibrah tries to persuade a fisherman and his wife to release the small boy they have bought to work for them. Kete Krachi, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery Two children, bought from their parents by a fisherman to work without pay and no schooling, being addressed by George Achibrah who attempts to rehabilitate such children. Kete Krachi, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery George Achibrah tries to find the fisherman who has bought this five-year-old to work for him. Kete Krachi, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery Small boys after being rescued from fishermen arrive by bus to participate in a ceremony reuniting them with their parents. Ekumkoano, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery At a ceremony to reunite children with the parents who had sold them to fishermen, some children seemed underwhelmed to be back with those who had given them away. Ekumkoano, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos
Ian Berry | Sold Into Slavery At a ceremony to reunite boys with the parents who had sold them to fishermen, this boy broke into tears whilst his father was being interviewed. Ekumkoano, Ghana. 2007. © Ian Berry | Magnum Photos

On Lake Volta in Ghana, children as young as 4 or 5 are sold by their parents to local fishermen. This practice has been going on in the region for centuries. Children are useful to fishermen for their nimble fingers which are used, amongst other things, to unpick nets. After being sold into slavery to the fishermen, they receive no education, work long hours and are generally not well treated, living off leftover food from the adults’ table.