At age six, James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery. He worked in Ghana’s fishing villages 17 hours a day. Food and shelter were scant. Abuse was constant. Seven years later, James escaped back home to his parents. His mom was overjoyed. His father? Not so much.
At 14, James couldn’t read or write. Somehow he believed that if he could only learn English, his life would get better. He befriended kindergartners so he could use their schoolbooks to learn to read. He worked to feed himself and pay for school. On standardized exams his scores broke records that have yet to be topped. James persevered and graduated college. His academic excellence landed him a job at Barclays Bank. His English? You guessed it. Perfect.
With freedom and education came the responsibility to guard his community. James is fueled by equal parts anger and love. For the last 13 years, he has worked to end modern-day slavery.