Absent from an otherwise uplifting article in today’s New York Times about the freeing of children working for commercial fishermen in Ghana was the question: if it is against the law to indenture these children in the form of virtual slavery, then why must foreigners come and pay a large sum of money to the men holding the children in order to “free” them. Why can’t government — and there is one in Ghana — simply seize the children, removing them from the fishermen holding them illegally? The example, described in a prominent news article by the Timesm, seems another case of where foreign intervention undermines personal responsibility and government performance. Rather than freeing the children themselves, foreign good samaritans should have demanded government do so. The Times never raises this important possibility, which points to an alternative approach to helping Africans from afar.
Feb 05 2007
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