As reported over the past five years, Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The exploitation of Ghanaians, particularly children, within the country is more prevalent than the transnational trafficking of foreign nationals. Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture. Donor-funded research focused on the fishing industry on Lake Volta indicated that more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor, not allowed to attend school, given inadequate housing and clothing, and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer water-born infections; girls perform work on shore such as cooking, cleaning fish, and preparing fish for market, and are vulnerable to sexual abuse. A study of the prevalence of child trafficking in selected communities in the Volta and Central Regions indicated that children from nearly one-third of the 1,621 households surveyed had been subjected to trafficking, primarily in fishing and domestic servitude. Child trafficking in the fishing industry is often facilitated by parents who receive a payment and organized traffickers who target vulnerable communities; girls exploited in domestic servitude are often sent via relatives or middlemen to work in harsh conditions. Ghanaian girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are subjected to sex trafficking in Ghana. Sex trafficking of Ghanaian girls has been reported in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Volta, and Western regions. As part of a ritual to atone for sins of a family member, Ghanaian girls are subjected to servitude that can last for a few months or several years. Ghanaian girls and young women from the rural northern regions move to urban centers throughout Ghana to seek work as porters; they are at risk for sex trafficking and forced labor.
Ghanaian women and children are recruited and sent to the Middle East, West Africa, and Europe for forced labor and sex trafficking. Unscrupulous agencies arrange transport of Ghanaians seeking employment in Europe through neighboring African countries, where they are subjected to sexual exploitation and held involuntarily by traffickers who extort funds from the victims. Licensed and unlicensed agencies recruit young Ghanaian women for domestic service or hospitality industry jobs in countries in the Middle East. After their return, many of them report being deceived, overworked, starved, abused, molested, and/or forced into prostitution. Ghanaian men are also recruited under false pretenses to go to the Middle East, where they are subjected to domestic servitude and forced prostitution. In recent years, a few Ghanaian men and women were identified as victims of forced labor in the United States. Women and girls voluntarily migrating from Vietnam, China, and neighboring West African countries are subjected to sex trafficking in Ghana. Citizens from West African countries are subjected to forced labor in Ghana in agriculture or domestic service. Ghana is a transit point for West Africans subjected to sex trafficking in Europe, especially Italy and Germany. Corruption and bribery in the judicial system hinder anti-trafficking measures.