Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ghana

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ghana, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Ghana (Tier 1)

Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic and commercial labor. Ghanaian children are trafficked to work in fishing communities along Lake Volta, and to cities to work as domestic helpers, porters, and assistants to local traders. They are also trafficked to Cote D'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, and The Gambia for forced labor; some girls are trafficked to the Middle East for involuntary domestic servitude. Ghanaian expatriates return to Ghana under the guise of seeking to marry young girls, but then prostitute these girls upon arrival in Europe, mostly in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. International traffickers also target Ghanaian women by promising European jobs. Ghana is a transit country for Nigerian women trafficked to Western Europe and forced to work in the sex industry, and Burkinabe children bound for Cote D'Ivoire. Children from Cote D'Ivoire, Togo, and Nigeria are trafficked to Ghana for forced work as laborers, domestic servants, and prostitutes.

The Government of Ghana fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Ghana continued to excel at victim protection, particularly in regard to repatriating trafficked children and providing assistance to their families. It also demonstrated strength in trafficking prevention by mounting awareness-raising campaigns in source villages and training truck drivers to identify trafficking victims. However, Ghana's future law enforcement efforts depend heavily on the passage of pending trafficking legislation. The government should proactively seek the passage of this bill and its implementation.


There is no specific law prohibiting trafficking in persons, although there are laws against slavery, prostitution, rape, underage labor, child stealing, kidnapping, abduction, and the manufacture of fraudulent documents under which traffickers are prosecuted. Government officials assert that these laws are inadequate and constrain law enforcement efforts. In 2003, the government worked on drafting a human trafficking bill that, in addition to criminalizing trafficking, would establish a victims' fund for protection, rehabilitation, and prevention efforts. The Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment conducted several workshops during which the National Human Trafficking Task Force reviewed the draft legislation; the government intends to submit the bill to Parliament in 2004. In 2003, police arrested four persons for trafficking-related offenses, but none were convicted. Two individuals were sentenced to two-year jail terms and fined for attempting to sell a child; a woman arrested in 2001 on charges of child trafficking to The Gambia is being prosecuted. There is another trial underway involving several traffickers who were intercepted with 50 children in 2002.


More than 1000 children were repatriated to Ghana in 2003. The Ghana National Commission on Children has conducted community gatherings throughout the country to discuss the hazards of trafficking. These programs significantly raised the level of trafficking awareness and, in some cases, prompted women to withdraw their children from their traffickers. The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs provided vocational training to girls engaged in portering. The Ministry also worked, through "Operation Bring Your Children Home," to encourage parents who had sold their children to bring them home in exchange for business assistance, vocational training, credit facilities, and assistance with school fees and uniforms. It established a Women's Development Fund, from which mothers of trafficked children received loans and business training to help them start small enterprises. The government used a World Bank loan to assist street children in major metropolitan areas, many of whom are targets of trafficking.


Ghana has a National Plan to Combat Trafficking. In June 2003, in recognition of the World Day against Child Labor, Parliament debated the issue of child labor and child trafficking. The Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) of the Ghana Police Force implemented trafficking awareness campaigns involving community meetings in three coastal villages known for sending children to work along the Volta Lake. In addition, WAJU conducted informational meetings at two large truck stops in Accra to educate drivers and their union representatives on identification of trafficking victims. The government pays approximately 10% of the costs of ILO programs to combat trafficking and child labor. The Ghana Education Service has an extensive program to promote girls' education and includes child labor issues in its curriculum.

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