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United Way Blog

From Trafficking to Triumph: Jerry’s Story of Resilience

After experiencing human trafficking, Jerry struggled to finish school and secure a stable job, without which he could be at risk of being trafficked again.  

In Jerry's home country of Ghana, human trafficking is prevalent, and both boys and girls are known to be trafficked into forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Systemic issues such as poverty, lack of opportunities, and international demand for cheap labor are at the root of human trafficking in the country, particularly when it comes to child labor trafficking in the commercial fishing and cocoa production industries. Recognizing the importance of combatting this injustice, United Way Ghana supports young survivors of labor trafficking to reintegrate into their home communities, equipping them with educational and economic support to rebuild their lives back home on their own terms.  

With the support of the entrepreneurship training program at United Way Ghana, Jerry is now running a successful mobile money business, a career that both helps his community manage their finances and provides him the financial stability to thrive. Jerry has also found community as a leader of the Courageous Crew, a survivor advocacy coalition supported by United Way Ghana. The Courageous Crew engages in community education at local schools to prevent further incidences of child trafficking in the community.   

Jerry is not the only person that has benefitted from United Way Ghana’s anti-trafficking efforts. With the help of the local school district and teacher volunteers, school-age survivors have been equipped with school supplies and after-school tutoring to reach grade level reading milestones. Meanwhile, United Way Ghana supports local young adults, like Jerry, with apprenticeship opportunities, vocational and entrepreneurship training, and university enrollment support. To date, 63 survivor students and 131 other vulnerable children have been supported through United Way Ghana’s educational support programs, and 16 young adult survivors have been supported through their economic mobility projects. 

The stories of Jerry and many others demonstrate the important impact of United Way Ghana’s work. The team is working directly within communities to protect, support, and uplift young people by providing them with the tools, resources, and education they need to succeed in the workforce and the world at large. 

Like United Way Ghana, the entire United Way Network is well poised to address the issue of human trafficking. To learn more about how local United Ways can leverage existing strengths, partnerships, and programs to combat this issue, check out The Strategy Guide to Combat Human Trafficking.  

And, to learn more about United Way Ghana’s anti-trafficking efforts, click here.