Ghana (Tier 2)
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 internally for forced labor in fishing villages and cocoa plantations, and to urban areas in the south to work in exploitative conditions as domestic servants, street vendors, and porters. Ghanaian children are also trafficked to Cote D'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, and The Gambia for exploitation as laborers or domestic servants. Recruiters typically target poor children who are removed from the home community with their parents' consent. Ghanaian women and girls are trafficked to Western Europe – principally Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands – for sexual exploitation. Some young Ghanaian women are trafficked for involuntary domestic servitude in the Middle East. Nigerian females moved to Western Europe for sexual exploitation transit Ghana, as do Burkinabe victims on their way to Cote D'Ivoire. Foreign victims include children brought to Ghana from Cote D'Ivoire, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria for forced labor, involuntary domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation.
The Government of Ghana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Ghana continued educating the public and providing assistance to trafficked children and their families, but law enforcement efforts were disjointed and hampered by the lack of a comprehensive national trafficking law. The government should proactively seek the passage and implementation of trafficking legislation planned since 2002, support law enforcement training and resources, and improve victim support services.
The government did not make significant progress in identifying and prosecuting trafficking cases. Anti-trafficking legislation proposed since 2002 did not reach parliament. Laws prohibiting slavery, prostitution, use of underage labor, and manufacture of fraudulent documents exist, but officials did not keep data on internal cases related to trafficking, and could not determine how many of the approximately 250 reported cases of abduction, child stealing, and child abuse involved trafficking. Only Accra district kept conviction data on such cases, and authorities could not confirm which of the six cases prosecuted in the district involved trafficking. Officials investigated six cases through Interpol involving 18 children and eight adults; four of the cases remained pending at year's end and none resulted in a conviction. A prominent Ghanaian official was indicted by a U.S. court in 2002 for trafficking a Ghanaian woman to the United States for forced domestic servitude; a U.S. request for the official's extradition remained pending with Ghanaian authorities. Immigration officers received some training and police sent anti-trafficking notices to border checkpoints, but the government lacked the resources to adequately train law enforcement officials attempting to combat trafficking. Ghana coordinates with its neighbors, but some officials and NGOs noted gaps in cross-border coordination with neighboring countries.
The Government of Ghana provided modest resources for child victims and reunited child victims with their families during the reporting period, but victim needs outstripped resources. The government worked with the IOM to assist 544 child victims rescued from Volta Region fishing villages, and one government-run facility in Accra provided temporary shelter for 35 victims during the reporting period. The government provided some counseling and worked with IOM to offer start-up assistance for resettlement of repatriated children in their home communities. Few officials were trained in recognizing trafficking and providing assistance to victims.
Though resources were scarce, the Government of Ghana remains a leader in Africa for its continued innovative efforts to educate the public. Agencies like the Women and Juvenile Unit of the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Child Labor Unit, and the Department of Social Welfare held community meetings, distributed handbills in local languages, targeted selected schools for direct outreach, met with parents in source communities, launched a joint program with ILO-IPEC to train parents of former child victims in marketable skills, and tested use of a puppet show to reach illiterate members of the public. In the Upper East Region, the Bawku municipal government coordinated with community watch groups and security services to track child traffickers. Despite these initiatives, many families remain unaware of the exploitation and abuse children risk when lured by promises of work or study away from home.