One local woman is determined to make a difference when it comes to human trafficking in West Africa.
Amanda Moore, 28, has been working for the Enslavement Prevention Alliance – West Africa (EPAWA) as the director of development for about one year. She has however, been helping in the poverty-ridden country for a number of years doing the same type of work.
She is in Red Deer until March 12 but is heading back to Ghana at the beginning of April.
The organization Moore is working for is small. She along with the executive director of EPAWA are the only people with the organization. Ideally, Moore said, there would be a team of 10 doing the work that needs to be done.
“We have a hotline where people can call and report cases to us. We conduct an investigation into the cases to collect evidence. Essentially we do what the police here would do as their initial legwork. We do that because the police don’t have the resources to do that in Ghana,” she added.
“We do it this way so that the police will take the case seriously because if the average person in a village somewhere – maybe a woman’s husband is beating her terribly every day for years and she went to the police. The police would basically tell her that they can’t do much or to go to the capital which is a 10-hour bus ride and then you can make a complaint. It’s pretty difficult.”
Moore and her supervisor will make a statement with the police on the cases they are investigating and will become witnesses in court.
Last year EPAWA dealt with 150 different cases. The type of cases Moore sees varies. She has seen cases such as one girl who was gang raped by three boys from her village. Another case included 10 children in an orphanage who had been abused who needed to be rescued. Other cases include women and children—both boys and girls, who were forced into prostitution and who work in brothels. She also deals with cases where child labour is involved where children are sold to work on farms or on fishing boats.
EPAWA is working to start their own emergency shelter and clinic in Ghana.
“It would be Ghana’s only clinic for victims of sexual violence. The importance is looking to collect medical evidence that can be used in court. Right now there are little options if we need that done. We do aim to have the clinic and emergency shelter and then also a longer term rehabilitation centre.”
In terms of the danger of her work, Moore said she recognizes the risks are definitely there.
“We’re dealing with people’s livelihoods, their pride, their reputations. Definitely there is a sense of animosity,” she said. “But the way we operate is fairly hidden, is fairly undercover. We work with investigative journalists who take the stories to the media if we feel it’s particularly sensitive. To the average person who doesn’t really know us but sort of hears about what we do, they think we help children. They don’t really realize what we do.”
Eventually Moore would like to come back to Canada to continue work here as well.
“I look at how can I be in Ghana and address these issues when they are happening here too? I’m sensing a desire to become more involved here in different ways if I can. I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet.”
Moore is supported in part by CrossRoads Church in Red Deer to continue her work.
However, she is also looking for others who can financially help with her mission. She is committed to raising at least 75% of her own salary through personal networking.
For more information visit www.AmandaInGhana.org or email Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.