U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ghana

Ghana (Tier 1)

Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked persons and has an internal trafficking problem. Most victims are children trafficked internally for forced labor, such as in the fishing industry or for street hawking. Ghanaian adults and children are trafficked to neighboring countries for labor and prostitution. Some women are trafficked to Europe and forced into prostitution, and Ghana has become a transit point for Nigerian women trafficked to Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands for commercial sexual exploitation.

The Government of Ghana fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government could further improve by passing an anti-trafficking legislation to help expedite prosecutions through to final conviction and give momentum to the national anti-trafficking task force.


The national task force used the African Union Day of the Child and National Children's Day to highlight the dangers of child trafficking and child labor. Elected government officials are actively involved with efforts to raise awareness of trafficking and have organized sensitization meetings on trafficking with opinion leaders, chiefs, and village elders. The government funds ten percent of an international program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. It also sponsors radio and television public service announcements against trafficking and distributes handbills on trafficking to transport owners and local officials. The Ghana National Drama Company uses nationally recognized stars in a television drama to further sensitization on cultural practices that encourage trafficking. The government uses a World Bank loan package to directly assist street children. The government has established a Needy Child Fund to reach 50 children in each of 110 districts. The government is using the Red Card Against Child Labor campaign at national and local soccer matches. Ghana participates in regional efforts to combat trafficking.


Ghana lacks an anti-trafficking law. However, law enforcement efforts are moving forward while the trafficking law moves slowly through the legislative system. The Inspector General of Police has issued letters directing local police commanders to assist NGOs working on trafficking cases. The government has banned ritual servitude, indentured servitude, indecent assault, and forced marriages and has increased the penalties for defilement and child prostitution. Statistics for trafficking are not kept separately. The government investigated 1,620 cases of defilement, which mandate 5 to 15 year sentences, in 2002 and 429 from January to March 2003. There were 729 kidnapping and abduction cases and 34 child-stealing cases in 2002. Five child-stealing cases have been reported from January to March 2003. Several recent trafficking cases were the result of a tip-off system for local residents. Immigration officers are trained in detecting fraudulent documentation and identifying TIP victims, including training arranged by the Chief of Immigration.


The government rescues street children and closely cooperates with NGOs that provide shelter and rehabilitation and has provided a government building for use as a project office and transit camp for children. The government uses World Bank funds to return street children to their homes in the north. The Ministry of Manpower is attempting to provide more counseling services. In partnership with international organizations, the government is currently returning 571 children trafficked into the fishing industry and offering fishermen incentives to release a total of 1,200 children. The Women and Juvenile Unit of the Police has an outreach program for communities on trafficking and domestic violence.


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