Child trafficking and child labor
Child labor is a major problem in Togo. It is bad enough when parents force their children to help in the fields or tending the cattle so that they cannot go to school. There are also children who have to work and still go to school. But how should one learn like that? The children are always missing, for example during harvest time. And of course it’s also bad when a child becomes an orphan, i.e. no longer has parents, and now has to fend for itself.
But it is even worse when children are sold to toil on plantations. Traffickers buy their children from parents for little money and promise that their children will have it well. But that’s a lie. The children are used as slave labor. They are often deported to one of the neighboring countries, for example to Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Liberia or Gabon. It is estimated that more than 300,000 children from Togo between the ages of five and 15 are exploited in other countries. The number of working children in Togo is around 23 percent.
You can find more information about child labor and what you can do in this detailed article on child labor on Helles Köpfchen.
Sick and without clean water
In Togo, a country located in Africa according to localtimezone, many more children die than here as babies or toddlers. Out of 100 newborns, almost three die, out of 100 one-year-olds almost five, and out of 100 five-year-olds seven! There are many reasons for this: Many people are poor and do not have enough to eat.
Not all have clean drinking water. There is hardly any running water in the villages. If there is a well that pumps water up from the depths, people can consider themselves lucky. Otherwise you have to get the water from some pools, the water of which makes you sick.
Often the pumps are also broken and then nobody can restart them. They were created by aid organizations, but nobody showed the population how they work and how they can be repaired.
Health care isn’t that good either. Many contract diseases that are not treated or treated poorly. These are in particular malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. Adults die from such diseases too. Your children will then become orphans. There are 54,000 children alone whose parents died of AIDS. Anyone who is sick and goes to a doctor has to pay for the treatment themselves.
Another problem is that girls in particular are married before they are 15 years old. In Togo, this affects six out of 100 girls. For those who were married at the age of 18, the proportion is even 22 percent.
Hada comes from Togo in West Africa. Like many boys, he followed human traffickers without his parents’ knowledge to work on the plantations in Benin. There the boys have to do dangerous work for which they don’t get any money.
“I was 16 when I said to a friend that I wanted a bike. He replied, ‘Go to Benin, there you can make money.’ I knew him well and trusted him.
I told my younger brothers that I was going to Benin but didn’t tell them it was because of the bike. First we drove by car, but then we had to walk from morning to evening. We worked in Benin for two weeks. My friend negotiated the pay for me and got the money. I wanted to go home and tell my parents why I left. But he said if I went now my parents wouldn’t take me in anymore.
We drove to Nigeria in a truck for three days without food. During the drive we saw many soldiers standing on the road. We were 200 young people. I wanted to go back, but had given all my money to the smugglers.
In Nigeria we worked in the fields twelve hours a day. We always ate after work. We stayed there for two years. My buddy said we won’t get our money until we leave. He bought a bicycle and a boom box too, but sold both again because we didn’t have enough money to go home. So we toiled another eight months to get bikes. We even worked at night.
The boss never showed up. Otherwise we would have asked him about our payment. The man who came instead hit us with a stick. I was sad and very lonely. I thought about my situation and also about Dad. I often cried and wondered what will happen when I get home.
Finally we were able to buy bicycles and fled to the hinterland. We drove for three weeks, we were 65 young people in total. One of us died in an accident.
After three years I was back in Togo. Today I regret everything and blame myself. When I got home, my father asked, ‘Who’s there?’ ‘It’s me, I’m sick from cycling a lot.’ I kept dreaming of the child who died, but that is over now. I tell my friends about my experiences and tell them to stay here.
I have changed. I learned a lot of things about myself. I’ve calmed down. Over there, all I had to do was think about going home. And most of all I missed my family. ”
What is the name of the child? Naming in Togo
The name was given by the Ewe people, who make up 40 percent of the total population in Togo, from the Twi-speaking peoples in Ghana (see there). Here, too, every baby is named after the day of the week on which it was born.
Girls are then called Adjoa (Monday), Abla (Tuesday), Akona (Wednesday), Ayawa (Thursday), Afi (Friday), Amelé or Ami (Saturday) or Akossiwa (Sunday). Boys are called Kodjo (Monday), Komlan (Tuesday), Kokou (Wednesday), Ayao or Yao (Thursday), Koffi (Friday), Komi or Kuami (Saturday), Kossi or Kouassi (Sunday).
Since it can happen, especially with so many children in a family, that two children are born on the same day of the week, you can help yourself by adding a “vi” to the younger child’s name. Adjovi would then be the younger girl who was born on a Monday.
There are special rules for twins. This is the name of a girl who is born first, Atchoupi, and her twin Atchoupe.
But in addition to the traditional naming, there is also a modern one. Often people have several names, and of course there is also a last name. Often French first names can be found, which comes from the time of French colonial rule. French is also the official language in Togo. But there are also African names. The former president of Togo was originally called Etienne, but then called himself Gnassingbé.
Boys are often called Emmanuel, Richard, David, Jean or Edem. Girls are called Grace, Reine, Diane, Justine or Irene.