Due to the COVID-19-Pandemic, harmful practices against children, (sexual) violence and exploitation have suddenly increased worldwide. In our project area in Northern Ghana, child trafficking for economic or sexual exploitation as well as early and forced child marriage have spurred during school lock-downs. Limited opportunities for commerce and rapid inflation caused many families to lose the little income that they had. Sending their children off to marriage or entrusting them to (traveling) employers often seems to be the only way to know their children taken care of. Little knowledge about the pains that their children have to go through or the long-term consequences as well as deeply rooted traditions make for favorable environment for child trafficking and early marriage. Before the pandemic, already every forth girl in the Northern Region in Ghana was married before the age of 18. Thousands of girls are thus deprived of educational and professional opportunities, prone to early pregnancies, HIV or other physical and psychological impairments.
The project contributes to end these harmful practices in the Northern Region of Ghana by raising awareness and creating durable support structures for children and families.