Tonight was the first of a three part University Lecture Series about ending child trafficking through education and economic empowerment. Founder and Executive Director of Challenging Heights, James Kofi Annan, gave a powerful and moving speech about his experiences with human trafficking in Ghana.
He spoke about growing up in a family of 12 children with illiterate parents and being the first to pursue an education at 14 years old. From the time he was six, he was forced into abusive labor conditions.
When he was a teen, he believed if he could only become educated and learn English that his life would be better. Annan founded Challenging Heights in 2003 and since then he and his team have rescued over 1,200 children.
While Annan is proud to share this number, he says it is small in comparison to the over 200,000 children that are currently enslaved. Some of the first children he rescued are now part of his staff and share the same passion and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. Annan also shared that a recent graduate of Texas State had been so moved by the cause that they volunteered with Challenging Heights in Ghana for over six months.
When asked what we can do to help from this side of the world, Annan answered that we must become more educated on the issue and continue to spread the word. He also asked for any donations we may be able to give to help fund the mission.
Annan will take part in a panel discussion on “Ending Child Trafficking” Wednesday. Click here for more information on his speaking engagements at Texas State. The VoiceBox Media team will continue bringing you coverage of his lectures.
“Our life ends the moment we refuse to do something about what happens to us.” -James Kofi Annan