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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             

Republic of Ghana

Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold and cocoa production, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for about 35% of GDP and employs about 55% of the work force, mainly small landholders.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Ghana

Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and the majority of victims are children. Both boys and girls are trafficked within Ghana for forced labor in agriculture and the fishing industry, for street hawking, forced begging by religious instructors, as porters, and possibly for forced kente weaving. Over 30,000 children are believed to be working as porters, or Kayaye, in Accra alone. Annually, the IOM reports numerous deaths of boys trafficked for hazardous forced labor in the Lake Volta fishing industry. Girls are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. To a lesser extent, boys are also trafficked internally for sexual exploitation, primarily for sex tourism. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Ghana.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


How Iom Is Reducing Human Trafficking In Ghana

Prathamesh Mantri, The Borgen Project

[accessed 3 February 2021]

REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and APPLE, a Ghanaian NGO founded in 1977, both rescue children from trafficking and bring them back to their families. Rescued children first go to a government-run shelter for up to three months before they reunite with their parents. At the shelter, they receive medical checks, health treatment, psychological counseling and basic education.

Additionally, a clinical psychologist inspects the victims to identify the ill-treatment that they have experienced which informs the creation of a personalized plan for rehabilitation. Next, the children attend school or undertake an apprenticeship with the necessary supplies. Otherwise, if they are fortunate enough, they go back home to their parents.

The children who return to their parents get to fulfill the fundamental right of all the children in this world: to grow up with a family. The authorities organize a background test and a compatibility test to ensure that the caretakers are suitable before handing over the child.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ghana

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 7 June 2021]


Forced labor and trafficking, however, persisted with insufficient investigation and prosecution. NGOs, civil society, and human rights activists reported corruption within police ranks, the justice system, and political authorities that impeded prosecution, with perpetrators accumulating significant wealth from trafficking and forced labor and senior police officers intimidating NGO staff to deter their investigations.


Employers subjected children as young as four to forced labor in the agriculture, fishing, and mining industries, including artisanal gold mines, and as domestic laborers, porters, hawkers, and quarry workers. NGOs estimated that almost one-half of trafficked children worked in the Volta Region. Starting in 2019 civil society organizations rescued more than 200 children subjected to forced labor and beatings and denied food, education, and safe living conditions at Lake Volta. In the fishing industry, they engaged in hazardous work, such as diving into deep waters to untangle fishing nets caught on submerged tree roots. The government did not legally recognize working underwater as a form of hazardous work. Officials from the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development received training as part of a strategy to combat child labor and trafficking in the fisheries sector.

Child labor continued to be prevalent in artisanal mining (particularly illegal small-scale mining), fetching firewood, bricklaying, food service and cooking, and collecting fares. Children in small-scale mining reportedly crushed rocks, dug in deep pits, carried heavy loads, operated heavy machinery, sieved stones, and amalgamated gold with mercury.

Child labor occurred in cocoa harvesting. Children engaged in cocoa harvesting often used sharp tools to clear land and collect cocoa pods, carried heavy loads, and were exposed to agrochemicals, including toxic pesticides. The government did not legally recognize this type of work in agriculture, including in cocoa, as hazardous work for children.

Employers often poorly paid and physically abused child laborers, and the children received little or no health care. According to the MICS, one in every five children between the ages of five and 17 is engaged in hazardous working conditions, and there were no significant disparities between boys and girls.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 10 September 2020]


Most workers are employed in the informal sector, limiting the effectiveness legal and regulatory safeguards for working conditions. The exploitation of children in the agricultural and mining sectors remains a problem. Similar abuses in the fishing industry have also been reported, especially in the region surrounding Lake Volta. While the government has taken some positive steps to address human trafficking in recent years, it has not adequately funded enforcement efforts or addressed corruption and political interference in trafficking cases, according to the US State Department.


While personal social freedoms are upheld in many respects and among large segments of the population, domestic violence and rape are serious problems, and harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation or cutting and early or forced marriage persist in certain regions. The government has worked to combat gender-based violence over the past decade, including by expanding the police’s domestic violence and victim support units and creating special courts for gender-based violence, though such services reportedly suffer from insufficient resources.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 17 April 2019]

[accessed 28 April 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 448]

The majority of children subject to human trafficking are transported within Ghana for labor in cocoa, domestic work, commercial sexual exploitation, and fishing. Children as young as age 4 are subjected to forced labor in fishing in the areas around Lake Volta, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. (15; 18; 25; 32; 36; 37) Children also use sharp tools and are exposed to agro-chemicals while working in the cocoa sector. (5; 10).

A Study on Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation within th Gulf of Guinea countries

James Okolie-Osemene PhD, Department of International Relations and the Director of Research and Linkage Programme, Wellspring University, Nigeria

[Long URL]

[accessed 14 February 2022]

The objectives of this study are to situate and examine the context, nature and networks of human trafficking for sexual exploitation around the Gulf of Guinea in order to identify the intersection between the sources, transit and destinations of the illicit trade, interrogate the human rights implications of human trafficking for sexual exploitation around the countries of the Gulf of Guinea on the one hand, and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the anti-trafficking activities on the other hand.

Three Chinese jailed for human trafficking

Ghana News Agency GNA, Accra, 23 June 2009

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Summing up its judgment, the court noted that the prosecution had been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. It held that James and Sam engaged in human trafficking by obtaining tickets and other travelling documents for the victims and through deceits, lured them to Ghana to work in a restaurant, which never existed.

According to the court the victims on their arrival had their passports and other travelling documents confiscated by James who in turn threatened, deceived and exploited their vulnerability. According to the court proceeds of the sex trade were used to purchase contraceptives, douches and other materials to facilitate their trade. It dismissed claims by the convicts that the victims and other Chinese nationals meet at the restaurants to sing. "During the singing that was when the men selected the victims for sex," the court noted.

It therefore concluded that the convicts through their intentions induced the victims into sex trade and declined to give them their travelling documents as well as proceed from the sex trade.

Human trafficking: The faces and sorrow at the heart of a UN report

UN News Centre, 13 February 2009

[accessed 6 February 2011]

And Kwame’s young life embraced a dream when his parents were told he would join a sales business. Instead, he was trafficked to the infamous fishing region around Ghana’s Lake Volta where he was forced to do dirty, dangerous jobs for eight long years.

After eight years of backbreaking labour and heartbreaking abuse, Kwame was freed by an anti-slavery group in Ghana. He is now recovering and wants to go to school “so that I can grow up to become somebody.”

The Protection Project - Ghana [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[Last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Children from Ghana are reportedly trafficked to neighboring countries to work on farms or in fishing villages,  and they are trafficked internally for similar purposes. One boy from Immuna, a fishing village in the Central Region of Ghana, was forced to work without pay for more than 5 years in a fishing community close to Yeji, located on the Volta River. He was one of hundreds of children rescued from forced labor in Yeji fishing communities in 2004 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  Akateng, a fishing community in the Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region, has been identified as a child-trafficking zone by the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs.  It is estimated that more than 1,000 children are working as slave laborers on fishing boats across the country.  The children are usually told that they are going to live with relatives who will care for them and send them to school; however, they end up working long hours on fishing boats. Boys frequently get stuck in nets at the bottom of the lake.

Preventing Child Trafficking in Ghana's Fishing Communities

Voice of America VOANews, Washington DC, 22 August 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[accessed 28 April 2020]

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says child trafficking is rampant in fishing communities along Ghana’s Lake Volta. The organization has been trying to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate trafficked children.  But are the children really being enslaved or the chores they do are part of a cultural tradition?

“They are not being held against their will, but as a child they have no consent. What happens is that some of these children have uncles or relatives who come to these poor parents in fishing area, in the village to take them to go and stay with. When they go there, they in turn give the children to fishermen and collect some money from the fisherman, and the children go and work for the fisherman instead of going to school,” Peasah said.

Ghana - Juliana Dogbadzi - Sex Slavery

Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, Camera Works: Speak Truth to Power, The Washington Post

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Juliana Dogbadzi, enslaved in a shrine in her native Ghana as a young child under a custom known as Trokosi, was forced to work without pay, without food or clothing, and to perform sexual services for the holy man. She was able to escape seventeen years later, after several failed attempts, at the age of twenty-three. Trokosi comes from an Ewe word meaning "slave of the gods," and is understood as a religious and cultural practice in which young girls, mostly virgins, are sent into lifelong servitude to atone for the alleged crimes of their relatives. In 1997, it was estimated that approximately five thousand young girls and women were being kept in 345 shrines in the southeastern part of Ghana.

The Growing Menace Of Child Trafficking - The Ghanaian Times, 21 Jun 2008

[accessed 6 February 2011]

The latest report that 390 child slaves are locked up at Krachi in the Volta Region, published in this paper yesterday, is indeed disturbing, if not disconcerting.  According to our correspondent, these children are under bondage, labouring for fishermen on five islands in the vicinity of Kete Krachi in the Volta Lake area.  These children, the report stated, are among 424 others registered by the Counter Trafficking Unit of International Organisation for Migration mission in Ghana.

They have lost all their rights and freedoms for which reason their survival and development are severely jeopardised.

Human trafficking is a national disgrace

Stop Trafficking, 2008-04-09

[accessed 6 February 2011]

In Ghana, the most worrying aspect is the practice of child trafficking, particularly in the towns along the coast. According to organisations engaged in the fight against child trafficking, most children trafficked in Ghana end up in fishing communities around Yeji on the shores of the Volta Lake, where they are subjected to major forms of abuse by their 'owners.'  One fisherman is reported to have bought over thirty children whose ages range between three and 14 years with amounts ranging between GH?150 and GH?500, depending on the age.  Trafficked children can also be found on farms, in domestic servitude, mining, stone quarrying, shop keeping, textile industry, restaurants, and sometimes even as beggars.  One basic thing associated with human trafficking is that the victim's fundamental human rights are abused through enforced labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, illegal adoption, and other such ills.

Ghana Police set up anti-human trafficking Unit

The Crusading Guide, 30 Oct 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

On the welfare of the 17 rescued girls, ACP Yeboah said that he had liaised-with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to find a temporary shelter to accommodate them until further notice.

Committee on child labour, trafficking inaugurated

Ghana News Agency GNA, Kumasi, Sept 7, 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[accessed 29 January 2018]

A 21-member steering committee for an International Labour Organisation (ILO) project on combating child labour and trafficking was inaugurated in Kumasi on Thursday.

Dr. Slyvester Sakyiamah, Executive Director of the Social Research Associates, said the Kumasi Metropolis had become the destination for most of the children trafficked from the Upper West, Upper East, Northern regions and other parts the country. He said the children were found to be cart pushers, bar-keepers, head porters, hawkers and domestic servants among other exploitative jobs. Dr. Sakyiamah said due to the nature of the work they engaged in, the lack of shelter and better conditions of life, some of them become street children, who were easily lured into robbery, drug peddling, child prostitution resulting in socio-economic problems.

Brave policewoman rewarded

The Mirror, 7-Jul-2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

The report said in December 2005, one Razak Mohammed asked his wife, Joyce Kruwaa, to allow his stepson, Kwadwo Kwafo, aged nine, to accompany him to visit his parents at Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region.  She gave her consent because that had been the usual practice whereby every December, Mohammed went to his parents for items for the Christmas celebration.  The report said this time around, instead of going to Kintampo, Mohammed took the boy to Kano, Nigeria, and sold him to an Alhaji for 158,000 naira (about $1,000).

Man jailed 30 years for human trafficking

Ghana News Agency GNA, 29-Jun-2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

The audience in the courtroom were stunned when Abebrese, resident of Brepro Nkwanta near Bawdie in the Wassa Amenfi East District of the Western Region admitted to attempting to sell one Joseph Narh, a carpenter of the same village for ritual purpose.

But, Inspector Adzadza said on June 19, 2007, the complainant received a call from Tekpey who informed him (the complainant) that he lied when he said he wanted him to assist him secure a kiosk, rather he wanted him (the complainant) to assist him sell one Narh in the Sewfi area where a human head could be exchanged for a KIA vehicle.

Trafficking of African women is thriving

Francois Tillinac, Agence France-Presse AFP, May 10 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

In January Italian police smashed several human trafficking rings involving African and eastern European females and netted some 800 suspects.

Outside Nigeria, other main sources of females for prostitution were the west Africa states of Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo.  She said young girls were lured with fraudulent offers of jobs in Europe, only to end up being violently forced into prostitution.

Human Trafficking Act is too broad

Ghana News Agency GNA, 13 March 2007

[accessed 20 April 2012]

A lawyer has described the Human Trafficking Act, 2005, as "too broad" and as such raises a number of concerns that need to be addressed to ensure its effective enforcement.  He said, for instance, the meaning of trafficking in the Act has been so defined as to make it ambiguous to determine what is meant by "force", "deception", "harbouring" or "exploitation of vulnerability."

Qatar recruitment is human trafficking - says Legal Centre

Gilbert Boyefio, The Statesman, 24/02/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

After the arrival of the first batch of Ghanaians to the oil-rich Qatar three months ago, several disgruntled workers complained of conditions there, resulting in a Government fact-finding mission to investigate the allegations.  Workers claimed that housing and food was poor, that they had not been paid and that their passports had been taken from them by their employers.

High human trafficking profits increases practice in Ghana

Ghana News Agency GNA, 20 Feb 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

High profits from human trafficking, rated the world’s third illicit business has led to increased number of children being trafficked and transported from Ghana to neighbouring countries.  Statistics from the United Nationa’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicated that human trafficking was rated the World’s third most profitable illicit business venture apart from drugs and prostitution.

Fighting human trafficking: Ghana's youngest victims

Florence Gbolu, Journalists for Human Rights JHR, Ghana, August 8, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

However, in this era of civilisation and development, Ghanaian children, through no fault of their own, are still being given out or sold to people, being deprived of their rights to enjoy life to the fullest.

People give out their children to these fishermen in return for monthly, quarterly or annual compensation.

Media urged to sensitize people on child trafficking

Ghana News Agency GNA, Accra, 22 September 2006

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Mrs Hagan said the estimated population of children between 5 years and 17 years in Ghana was 6,361,110 out of which 2,474,545 representing 39 per cent were engaged in economic activities while 242,074 are engaged in hazardous child labour.

Mrs Sylvia Hinson-Ekong, Executive Director of Rescue Foundation Ghana, said sensitization would stimulate people about the need to combat child trafficking.

Media urged to educate public on human trafficking

Ghana News Agency GNA, Accra, 20 September 2006

accessed 6 February 2011]

According to her most parents ignorantly gave their children out to persons forgetting about the dangers that they could go through. She said the enactment of the law on human trafficking was in the right direction but called for more collaboration between security agencies in combating it.

WEST AFRICA: Children in danger: War on trafficking

Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Accra, 29 June 2006

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Rejoice says she was 10 years old when she was sold and taken from her home to an unfamiliar fishing village on the banks of Volta Lake in central Ghana. Her parents said they needed the money and that her buyer, Victoria, would look after her.

For the next seven years Rejoice washed, scrubbed, cooked and cleaned alongside two other girls bought by Victoria. The young girls soon learned the rule of the house – work or be beaten.

Human Trafficking Law, Act 694 explained

Ghana News Agency GNA, May 18, 2006

[accessed 15 July 2013]

Mrs. Sweetie Sowah, Western Regional Director of the Legal Aid Board, has said parents who offer their child for trafficking commit an offence under the Human Trafficking Law, Act 694.

She was speaking at a community puppetry sensitisation programme on the Human Trafficking Law organised by the Department of Children at Sekondi.

Workshop On Child Trafficking Ends In Bawku

Ghana News Agency GNA, Bawku (U/E), 16 March 2005

[accessed 6 February 2011]

The Bawku Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Abdul-Rahman Gumah, has called for effective networking between the security services and community opinion leaders to address the high incidence of child trafficking in the Municipality and to step up surveillance on child smugglers in the area.

Let's Take a Collective Stance Against Child Trafficking

From the Editor, Public Agenda (Accra), 14 March 2005

[accessed 15 July 2013]

According to the report, the country was a source and a destination country for trafficked persons in 2004.  WAJU reported that there were 190 cases of abduction and 19 cases of child stealing during the year.

GHANA-GAMBIA: Sex slave children trafficked by Ghanaian fishermen

Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Banjul, 26 February 2004

[accessed 24 February 2015]

According to the Gambian National Intelligence Agency, the girls were smuggled into the country without official papers to work as sex slaves for their Ghanaian masters.  Ceesay confirmed this. She said the girls were forced to “satisfy the sexual desires of older men” and some were working full-time as prostitutes within the 5,000-strong Ghanaian community.

The Gambian authorities said that the girls were also made to work long hours smoking fish and selling gari, a popular Ghanaian staple made from cassava. Some boys smuggled into the Gambia were made to work as fishermen.  Meanwhile, their masters’ own children went to school and had all their usual domestic chores, like washing their school uniforms and even cleaning their shoes, done for them by the trafficked children.  The trafficked children told Gambian officials they had been forbidden to contact their parents at home.

Vocational Center for Freed Slave Girls in Ghana

GlobalGiving Foundation

[accessed 6 February 2011]

SUMMARY - Girls, freed from slavery, are gaining valuable skills by attending a vocational center that was built with help from GlobalGiving donors.

Worst Forms of Child Labor / Modern Child Slavery

Youth Advocate Program International YAPI,  7/26/2004

[accessed 24 January 2016]

WHERE SLAVERY EXISTS TODAY - Industries in which child slaves are used exist in all parts of the world. Children are enslaved in the cotton fields of India, fishing industry in Ghana, charcoal production in Brazil, gold mines in Peru, brick producing kilns of Nepal, stone quarries in south Asia, as camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates, and as domestic servants and sex slaves all over the world, including in the United States and other developed countries. Because they are more easily manipulated, children are typically given work in the most unhealthy and dangerous conditions.

Children engaged in hazardous labour

Ghana News Agency GNA, Koforidua, 18 May 2004

[accessed 6 February 2011]

A National Child Labour Survey by the Ghana Statistical Service indicated that out of the over six million children in Ghana of school-going age between five years and seven years, 1.3 million of them are engaged in hazardous labour. Ms Elizabeth Hagan, Head of Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment, said at a stakeholders meeting on child labour in the country at Koforidua.  She said the figure represented 39 per cent of Ghana's children of school going-age, who were out of school and were in the labour market.

GHANA: Trafficked children registered

Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Abidjan, 4 February 2003

[accessed 9 March 2015]

"We met on a one-to-one basis with 96 of the 136 fishermen who are known to employ underaged labour in Brong Ahafo region," Ernest Taylor of IOM Ghana said. "All of them promised to free the children. We told them that in exchange they would receive training and modern fishing equipment, so they won't have to employ children in future."  "We will continue to register all cases of trafficked children in the region. We will then start tracing families with the help of the traditional leaders and the fishermen. Once the families have been identified, we will contact them and provide enough help to ensure that the return of the children is sustainable," Taylor added.

U.S. Labor Secretary Visits with Victims of Child Trafficking in Ghana

Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State, Washington DC, 22 December 2003

[accessed 18 January 2015]

[accessed 28 April 2020]

During Secretary Chao's visit, she met with nearly 50 children who have been victims of trafficking. In addition to children from Kokrobite, Secretary Chao also visited with students from five schools in nearby villages. The children were trafficked hours away from their home to the Volta Lake region to work in the fishing industry, as divers, net casters and assistants to local fishermen. They were recently returned home, many through a Ministry of Women and Children campaign known as "Bring Your Child Back Home."

The Tragedy of Female Slavery in Ghana

Brian Carnell, EquityFeminism, February 12, 2001

[accessed 25 August 2014]

[Monday, October 25, 2010]  According to the American Anti-Slavery Group, until the 18th century the offering typically took the form of livestock or other gifts, but that began to change and priests began demanding, and receiving, virgin girls as atonement for the sins of their relatives.  Girls, often under the age of 10, are brought to the priest, ritually stripped of all their possessions, including clothes, and told they have to do anything the priest tells them. Most girls are raped repeatedly.

Former Child Slave James Kofi Annon, Bringing Children from Slavery to Salvation

Grahame Turner, Wellesley Patch, October 31, 2010

[accessed 6 February 2011]

"Of the six of us who were trafficked together, three of us are alive," began Kofi Annon.   Work began at 3 a.m. for the children. The day's work included tending and casting nets, diving, hauling, and countless other challenging tasks. The day ended at 8 p.m.   Kofi Annon added, "During that typical day, I'd have one meal."

"When you attempt to escape, the consequences of that are brutal," Kofi Annon explained. "Chance of being caught was high."   This is because the slaves could go days without seeing more than one vehicle, often the same boat used by traffickers. That isn't to say he never tried. After being caught on one occasion, his captors tied a noose around his neck and dragged him through the community, making an example to other would-be flight risks.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 6 June 1997

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[18] The Committee further notes with concern the inadequacy of existing laws in protecting children who are "adopted" - a situation which has led to abuses such as exploitation through domestic labor, particularly of girls.


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


The exploitation of children in the agricultural and mining sectors remains a problem. The exploitation of children in the fishing industry too remains a problem, especially in the region surrounding Lake Volta. While the government has taken some steps in recent years, it has not implemented antitrafficking legislation or adequately funded antitrafficking agencies.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – From January to May there were 105 cases of child abduction and 131 cases of child stealing, according to the DOVVISU.

On September 4, the Immigration Service reported its largest interception of traffickers to date when Kulungugu border officials arrested a woman for attempting to traffic 17 children, ages 5 to 17, to Burkina Faso.

Trafficking was both internal and international, with the majority of trafficking in the country involving children from impoverished rural backgrounds. The most common forms of internal trafficking involved boys from the Northern Region going to work in the fishing communities along the Volta Lake or in small mines in the west, and girls from the north and east going to Accra and Kumasi to work as domestic helpers, porters, and assistants to local traders. Local NGOs reported these children were subjected to dangerous working conditions and sometimes were injured or killed as a result of the labor they performed.

Children between the ages of 7 and 17 also were trafficked to and from the neighboring countries of Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, the Gambia, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea to work as farm workers, laborers, divers, street hawkers, or domestics.

Much of the recruitment of children was done with the consent of the parents, who sometimes were given an advance payment or promised regular stipends from the recruiter and were told the children would receive food, shelter, and often some sort of training or education. Some parents sent their children to work for extended family members in urban areas. Treatment of children sent to work in relatives' homes varied. Many children were given to professional recruiters, usually women, who placed the children with employers in cities. A child in these circumstances usually was paid between $2.20 and $3.30 (20 thousand to 30 thousand cedis) per month. In many cases, the children never received the education or vocational training the recruiters promised. Girls could be forced into prostitution and were sometimes sexually abused by their employers.

Women also were trafficked to Western Europe, mostly to Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. International traffickers promised the women jobs; however, the women often were forced into prostitution once they reached their destination. The women were sometimes sent directly to Europe while others were trafficked through other countries. Some young women were trafficked to the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, where they worked in menial jobs or as domestic help. There also was a trade in Nigerian women transiting through the country on their way to Western Europe or the Middle East to work in the commercial sex industry. Traffickers from other countries reportedly used Accra as a transit point to Europe and the Middle East. Reportedly, there was some trafficking in persons from Burkina Faso, mostly transiting through the country on the way to Cote d'Ivoire.  Authorities were unaware of any organized crime syndicates involved in human trafficking in the country.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - There are reports of children being given away, leased, or sold by their parents to work in various sectors.  Children were also reportedly sold into involuntary servitude for either labor or sexual exploitation.

Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked children.  Internationally, children are trafficked to neighboring countries for forced labor, and young girls are trafficked to the Middle East as domestic workers and to both the Middle East and Europe for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.  Internally, boys are trafficked from the Northern region to fishing communities in the Volta region or small mines.  Girls are trafficked to Accra and Kumasi to work as domestics, assistants to traders, and kayayeis, porters who trade goods carried on head loads.

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