Charlotte teens rescue child slaves - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Charlotte teens rescue child slaves

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Ten high school students from across the Charlotte area taking on a pretty big mission.

"I saw a video about child slavery in Ghana about three and half years ago now and my heart just broke," said Madi Vincent.

Since watching that video in 2009, Madi travels every summer to Ghana to help rescue child slaves.

"There's an estimated seven thousand child slaves working on Lake Volta and these kids their ages range from four years old to 14 years old," said Madi.

Parents sell their children into slavery either because they are destitute or because they believe that they are sending their child to receive an education.

Seeking help for these children, Madi convinced a group of her friends from different schools to start a fundraiser.

That led to the formation of Ghana Rock, a nonprofit program run by local teens.

The group partners with City of Refuge Ministries in Ghana to help rescue, feed, clothe, house and educate the former slaves.

City of Refuge Ministries says it is a grassroots organization extending the hand of Jesus Christ to the children of Ghana who have been trafficked, orphaned, or abandoned.

City of Refuge Ministries works to not only rescue children out of child slavery, but also to prevent children from being sold.

They accomplish this by helping to empower single mothers who are most likely to sell their children.

City of Refuge Ministries Children's Village makes it a priority to provide each child with an education, discipleship, medical treatment and love.

"They don't exchange money for a kids because then that's just human trafficking  and you're kind of just adding to the problem," said Madi. 

"So a lot of it is just negotiation and explaining that child slavery is wrong."

"Thinking about them having to work 16, 17 hours a day on a lake for their whole lives is a horrible thought to me." said current Ghana Rock team leader John Dockery.

The children are forced to fish on Lake Volta and they typically eat only once a day.

Many child slaves drown while disentangling fishing nets caught on stumps or other objects in the lake; those who refuse to dive below to disentangle nets are often beaten.

Additionally, child slaves who survive often grow up to work as slave masters because is it the only lifestyle they have known.

Last year, the concert raised more than $50,000. The group was able to rescue 18 children.

Now, they are currently organizing a third benefit concert with well known Christian artists.

"There will be a lot of displays showing pictures and facts and videos," said John. 

"And it will be a really neat thing that people will be able to see kind of follow a child's journey."

And although they don't have a monetary goal set for this year, the group stays focused on their mission.

"We rescued 18 children last year and so we would love to rescue as many more as we can," added John.

Ghana Rock benefit concert will be held on Friday, May, 17 at Northside Baptist Church.

The concert will feature Christian singer Phil Wickham and local artist Jordan Connell.

Advance tickets are $15 dollars and may be purchased at ghanarock.org. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $20

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