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03ACCRA437
2003-03-03 15:14:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Accra
Cable title:  

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT - GHANA

Tags:   KCRM  PHUM  KWMN  SMIG  KFRD  ASEC  PREF  ELAB  GH 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 ACCRA 000437 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, AF/W
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB GH
SUBJECT: TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT - GHANA

REF: STATE 22225



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The following is AmEmb Accra's response to
the tasker requesting information for the second annual
Trafficking in Persons Report. In summary, Ghana has problems
with both domestic and international human trafficking. The
GOG and local NGOs have so far combined efforts to focus on
combating domestic trafficking in children and the cultural
complacency that allows such trafficking and the resulting
child labor to occur. Efforts to combat international
trafficking have been hampered by a number of factors: slow
action on enacting appropriate legislation criminalizing
trafficking, changes in the directorship of the agencies that
lead GOG efforts on the issue, and the simple lack of
resources common to most developing nations. END SUMMARY



2. (SBU) The following responses are keyed to Ref A.



--------------------------


Para 16: Overview


--------------------------





A. (U) Ghana is both a country of origin and a destination
for internationally trafficked persons. However, internal
trafficking is more common than cross-border trafficking.
The Government does not have official figures on the number
of trafficked persons, either domestic or cross-border, and
estimates are difficult to come by and of limited
reliability.



B. (U) Domestically, most trafficking is in children, with
northerners more likely to be trafficked than southerners.
Boys are sent from the Northern Region to work in the fishing
communities in the Volta Region, and girls from the Northern
and Eastern Regions to the cities of Accra and Kumasi to work
as domestic helpers, porters, and assistants to local
traders.

Internationally, the majority of trafficking involves
children between the ages of seven and seventeen being
shipped to and from the neighboring countries of Cote
d'Ivoire, Togo, and Nigeria to work as laborers or household
help, or young women who are shipped to Western Europe,
mostly to work as prostitutes. Ghana is also a transit
country. There is a growing trade in Nigerian women
transiting Ghana on their way to Western Europe to work in
the sex industry, and there is reportedly some trafficking in
persons from Burkina Faso, going through Ghana on their way
to Cote d'Ivoire.



C. (U) Due to a lack of current reliable data, we have not
been able to detect any appreciable changes in the direction
or extent of trafficking over the past year.



D. (U) The most detailed studies on child trafficking have
been done by the African Center for Human Development (April
2000), and the Ministry of Manpower and Employment in
conjunction with the ILO (February 2001). Other local and

international organizations, both governmental and
non-governmental, have looked at the issue of trafficking in
persons, but mostly in the broader context of child labor.



E. (U) Ghana is not a major destination for international
trafficked victims. Those trafficked domestically are used
primarily for labor, such as farming, fishing, housekeeping,
street vending, and other menial work. They are either not
paid at all, or are given very low wages. Because trafficked
children are often sent away by families unable to support
them, and sometimes in exchange for cash payments, they
cannot easily return home despite their maltreatment.



F. (U) Children from impoverished rural backgrounds are the
primary victims of trafficking from Ghana to other countries.
Much of the recruitment of children between the ages of
eight and fifteen is done with the consent of the parents,
who are sometimes given an advance payment or promised
regular stipends from the recruiter. The parents are told
the children will receive food, shelter, and often some sort
of training or education. Some children are sent to work for
extended family members in urban areas, who may treat the
children relatively well. Many, however, are given to
professional recruiters, who, upon reaching the cities, hand
the children off to those who will be their actual employers.
At that point, the children begin their work as housemaids,
hawkers, shop assistants, etc. In many cases, the children
never receive the education or vocational training the
recruiters promised. Young Ghanaian women are also
reportedly targeted by international traffickers promising
jobs in Western Europe. They are sent directly from Ghana to
Europe, mostly Germany, Italy or the Netherlands, or they may
be transshipped through neighboring countries. Once at their
final destination, they are commonly forced into
prostitution. Some young women also end up in the Middle
East, where they work in menial jobs or as domestic help.



G. (U) The Ghanaian Government continues to show an increased
awareness of the problem of trafficking and the political
will to address it. The GOG hosted a Meeting of Experts
Against Trafficking In Persons on October 23-24, 2001, which
was sponsored by the Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Office for Drug
Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP). GOG attorneys served
as principal drafters and organizers of the conference.

The resulting "ECOWAS Initial Plan of Action to Combat
Trafficking in Persons" for 2002-2003, called on member
states to ratify international and regional anti-crime
conventions, adopt uniform laws against trafficking in
persons, implement measures to protect and assist the
trafficking victims, sensitize and educate government and law
enforcement officials to view trafficking as a crime, and
discourage the demand for trafficked persons in their
countries. The ECOWAS Plan mandated that states establish an
operational National Task Force on Trafficking by June 2002
and begin national awareness campaigns.

Since the ECOWAS conference, the largest area of action has
been in prevention through public outreach campaigns.
Several high-level GOG officials have responded publicly to
implement Ghana,s National Plan to Combat Trafficking and
raise public awareness on the issue. The Vice President
formally launched Ghana,s National Task Force on Trafficking
in Persons three months ahead of the ECOWAS deadline at an
ILO-sponsored conference on child trafficking in Ghana. This
conference was attended by a high-level delegation, including
five ministers. The Ministry of Justice leads the Task
Force, which is made up of representatives from the
Ministries of Manpower Development and Employment, Ministry
of Women and Children,s Affairs, the National Police, Ghana
Immigration, and members of Civil Society.

In other examples of public outreach, the Minister of Women
and Children's Affairs and some Members of Parliament seized
the opportunity presented by commemorative events such as the
OAU Day of the African Child (June 16, 2002) and National
Children,s Day (Aug 21, 2002) to heighten national awareness
of trafficking in children. A Supreme Court Justice has been
quoted in the press warning of the dangers and penalties for
exploiting children. The Justice, who chairs a National
Multi-Sectoral Child Protection Committee, was inaugurating a
branch of the committee in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Government and law enforcement officials have participated
extensively in public awareness outreach campaigns as well as
training programs sponsored by the USG and
local/international NGOs. Last Spring, INS Accra and Post
RSO recommended a rising Ghana Immigration official to attend
an International Visitor Program on Human Trafficking.
Several months after the program, that official rose to the
top to become the Director of Ghana Immigration. Impressed
by the program, she helped organize seminars for immigration
officers to sensitize them on the issue of trafficking.
Officials from the Ministry of Manpower Development and
Employment, Social Welfare Division have been engaged in
ILO/IPEC training and awareness projects on combating child
labor - the most common form of human trafficking within
Ghana. GOG officials have worked side-by-side with NGOs in
distributing posters and bumper stickers, presenting
theatrical messages in local communities, and encouraging
school art and essay competitions. Officials from the
Department of Social Welfare attended an ILO/IPEC
"train-the-trainers" workshop on child labor monitoring in
December 2002.

Second, the GOG has worked closely with NGOs to provide
protection - focusing on rescue and rehabilitation of
internally trafficked children. ILO/IPEC and the Ministry of
Manpower Development and Employment are currently embarking
on an initiative to return street children (many of whom are
runaway trafficking victims) back to their homes in the
north. This Street Children initiative is part of the
government,s Poverty Reduction Program funded by a loan from
the World Bank. Out of the 30 children selected for the
project, only 18 appeared for the return trip. Both ILO/IPEC
and the Ministry are looking for ways to provide more
counseling and education to the children before attempting to
repatriate them to their communities. As the Ministry,s
Social Welfare Department has limited resources such as
children,s homes, vehicles, and counselors, the government
is tapping into the (also limited) resources of local NGOs.

The International Organization for Migration, funded through
PRM, has begun an initiative to rescue, rehabilitate, and
return child trafficking victims who are working in fishing
villages in the Brong-Ahafo Region. The programs seeks to
encourage fishermen to release the children in exchange for
training or equipment that would enable them to fish without
the use of children. It is interesting to note that many
organizations are seeking to address domestic trafficking
outside the formal legal system. The problems listed in the
following paragraph may explain this.
Prosecution efforts have been the slowest to materialize.
Many government/law enforcement officials and NGOs complain
that the lack of specific laws against trafficking impedes
prosecution of traffickers (who are prosecuted under other
laws, see para 18, A). Last year,s TIP report noted that
Ghana,s National Plan involved amending the Ghanaian
criminal code to define trafficking in persons as a crime.
The Ministry of Justice has explained that the delay in
enacting the legislation is due to a decision to draft
in-depth stand-alone legislation criminalizing trafficking
rather than amending existing laws. The first draft, which
among other things would establish specific penalties for
trafficking is nearly completed. It is scheduled to soon go
to stakeholders for comments, and be submitted to Parliament
for action by Fall 2003. (COMMENT: Even if Ghana enacts
anti-trafficking legislation soon, actual prosecution of
traffickers will likely be slow in coming. The judicial
system in Ghana is completely under-resourced, (most courts
lack information technology capability, for example),
creating an incredible backlog of cases waiting to go to
trial. END COMMENT)



H. (U) There is no evidence that Government authorities, or
individual members of government forces, act to facilitate,
condone, are complicit, take bribes, or assist in trafficking
operations.



I. (U) The Government is limited in addressing the problem of
trafficking by both culture and resources. Child trafficking
in Ghana is difficult to define. Children from rural
communities are commonly sent by their parents to work as
housemaids for distant relatives in cities. Given the severe
poverty that many rural families face, sending a child to
work for well-off relations in the city, with the hope that
the child will receive some vocational training or education,
is regarded as a genuine attempt to improve that child's
opportunities. The idea that sending children to live with
extended family under these circumstances is "trafficking"
would make no sense to many Ghanaians. Other, more
exploitative forms of trafficking, such as cross-border
trafficking or situations where the children are recruited by
professionals who traffic them for profit, are recognized as
problems by the Government, but law enforcement authorities
are not equipped with adequate training or financial
resources to deal with the problem.



--------------------------


Para 17: Prevention


--------------------------





A. (U) With the adoption of the ECOWAS Plan in October 2001,
the GOG has openly acknowledged that trafficking is a
problem, and with the development of its National Plan, has
begun to address the problem on a coordinated and systematic
basis (see para 16, G).



B. (U) See para 16, G.



C. (U) A local NGO, The African Center for Human Development
(AFCHD), has taken several full-page newspaper advertisements
on their efforts to combat child trafficking within Ghana,
and on their new rescue and rehabilitation centers for
rescued children. They have held numerous workshops for local
leaders, traditional rulers, social workers and law
enforcement, as well as radio shows in local languages
discussing the consequences of trafficking and child labor.
They report an overwhelming response to their efforts.
Families and trafficked children are seeking out the
assistance of the ACFHD. There are even some local fishermen
who have volunteered to return trafficked children who work
for them to their families.

The ILO International Program the Elimination of Child Labor
(ILO/IPEC) has specific programs to combat trafficking. They
also use radio and television programs in local languages to
sensitize communities in what they call "recruitment areas."
ILO/IPEC is currently working on flyers of information -
designed to address the cultural underpinnings of child
trafficking - to pass out to communities, local
transportation owners and officials, which should be
completed by Spring 2003. In addition, they are working with
the Ghana National Drama Company to portray a television
drama on trafficking using nationally recognized stars. This
film will also be used in sensitization and training
programs.

U.S. Embassy in Accra funds several gender-based NGOs through
its Democracy and Human Rights Fund. These organizations run
empowerment and education workshops on violence against women
and children. INL program funds, administered by the local
UNDP office in coordination with the Embassy, have funded
several NGOs as well as the Women and Juvenile Police Unit
(WAJU), focusing on crisis center establishment, counseling,
police training and community outreach on abuse of women and
children. Although these projects are not specifically
targeted at trafficking in persons, they are crucial to
tackling the underlying culture that supports crimes against
vulnerable populations, such as trafficking in women and
children. All of the above efforts have been successful in
the sense that real needs are being addressed, so much so
that NGOs and local authorities are starting to feel pressure
on their resources to adequately deal with rescue,
rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked children to
their homes.



D. (U) The Government of Ghana has agreed to pay ten percent
of the cost of an ILO/IPEC program called "Combatting
Trafficking in Children for Labor Exploitation in West and
Central Africa," which includes both training of government
and NGO officials in the rehabilitation of trafficked
children and a public relations campaign. In addition, the
GOG supports programs designed to empower women and children
that indirectly help prevent trafficking. Certain components
of the Government's National Poverty Reduction Program are
designed to alleviate child poverty and improve children's
access to education, and the Ministry of Women's Affairs runs
programs which serve to educate women on the importance of
children's education.



E. (U) The Government does support programs (see above),
though scarcity of resources is always a problem.



F. (U) The Government's relationship with NGOs, international
organizations, and civil society is constructive.



G. (U) The Director of Ghana Immigration is committed to
combating human trafficking and has begun training officers
to detect human trafficking. However, the GOG does not have
the required resources to adequately monitor and control
Ghana's lengthy land borders. The lack of sufficient data to
monitor immigration patterns, for example, stems from the
lack of communication infrastructure between border posts and
their regional offices.



H. (U) See para 16, G.



I. (U) See para 16, G. In addition, the Ministry of Manpower
Development and Employment has conducted studies on child
labor with the ILO which touch on the problem of trafficking
in children.



J. (U) The GOG does have a National Plan to Combat
Trafficking as well as a National Task Force made up of the
Ministries of Justice, Manpower Development and Employment,
and Women and Children,s Affairs, the National Police, Ghana
Immigration, and members of Civil Society. The Task Force
has had a slow start after the initial inauguration, in large
part because of changes in directorships in important
Ministries such as Manpower Development and Employment.
However, most of the same actors are involved in a joint
GOG-ILO/IPEC Steering Committee to Combat Trafficking at a
lower, more functional level, which helps coordinate
trafficking programs nationwide.



K. (U) The Ministry of Justice has the lead on developing
the new law against trafficking. The Ministry of Manpower
Development and Employment takes the lead on the program
level to combating child labor as well as child trafficking.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Para 18, Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers


--------------------------



--------------------------





A. (U) There is no specific provision in Ghanaian law
outlawing trafficking in persons. There are laws against
slavery, prostitution, rape (or child rape, termed
"defilement"), use of underage labor, manufacture of
fraudulent documentation, etc. Traffickers are prosecuted
under these statutes. However, the Ministry of Justice is
currently finalizing a draft law criminalizing human
trafficking that will soon go out to stakeholders for
comment. It is estimated the draft legislation will go to
Parliament in the Fall 2003.


B. (U) There are currently no specific penalties for
trafficking, but penalties for related offenses range from
six months to 25 years (see above).



C. (U) In June 1998, Parliament passed comprehensive
legislation to protect women and children's rights. The bill
doubled the mandatory sentence for rape, making it punishable
by 5 to 25 years in prison. It also banned the practice of
ritual servitude, criminalized indecent assault and forced
marriage, and raised the punishments for defilement, incest,
and prostitution involving children. There is no specific
penalty for trafficking in persons, although a specific
penalty is envisioned for the trafficking law being drafted.



D. (U) Traffickers have been prosecuted under statutes listed
in para 18, A. Penalties imposed range from several months
to many years in prison. Sentences for rape or defilement,
for example, are often 10 to 15 years in length. Information
on sentencing of traffickers is not kept separately from
other data on sentencing for rape, kidnapping, and other
offenses for which traffickers can be prosecuted.



E. (U) Within Ghana, brokers or recruiters procure children
from rural areas and move them to the locations where they
will work (see para 16, F). These recruiters may move as
many as ten children at one time. Internationally, some
trafficking groups are reportedly taking advantage of Ghana's
growing international air links by moving Nigerian women
through Ghana to Europe as a way of avoiding stricter airport
controls in Nigeria.



F. (U) Local law enforcement does not use any special
techniques in the detection or investigation of trafficking;
however, there are several current cases involving detection
of trafficking by police through tip-offs by local residents,
and arrests have been made (under the related offenses
mentioned above).



G. (U) The National Plan to Combat Trafficking includes a
training component for police and immigration officials.
Presently, Ghana Immigration does attempt to identify
traffickers and trafficked persons through the detection of
fraudulent documentation. In the past year, Ghana
Immigration Service (GIS) has been successful in stopping
child traffickers in the north of Ghana. INS Accra and Post
RSO recommended three candidates from GIS and the National
Police to participate in the International Visitors' Program
for training in connection with human trafficking. The
candidates traveled in the Spring of 2002. This program
inspired the GIS official, who shortly after the IVP program
rose to Director, to provide seminars to her officers. INS
Accra, as well as the immigration services of other Embassies
in Ghana, have trained GIS officials in the detection of fake
documents such as passports and visas. GIS has been
receptive to such training, and has called on INS and
Consular officials on many occasions when they have had
questions about travelers going to the U.S. who they suspect
may be victims of trafficking. Many government officials and
law enforcement agencies have attended training sponsored by
local and international NGOs in the past year.



H. (U) See para 16, G, for discussion of GOG cooperation with
its neighbors in the ECOWAS sub-region. In addition, Ghana
Immigration has been very receptive to training in the
detection of fake documents and other techniques to prevent
trafficking and various forms of illegal immigration (see
above).



I. (U) We have no examples of the extradition of accused
traffickers.


J. (SBU) There is no evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of international trafficking. However, it is more
difficult to assess the Government's position on domestic
trafficking. It is commonplace for poor children from rural
areas to go to cities to work as domestic help for extended
family relations. This is not viewed as "trafficking" and is
not illegal in Ghana, but is seen as a way of giving the
children improved opportunity.



K. (U) We are unaware of any Government officials involved in
trafficking.



L. (U) Ghanaian Parliament ratified ILO Convention 182 in May


2001. Ghana ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child in 1989, becoming one of the first countries do so.
The Government passed a Children's Act in 1998, which
specifies the rights of children in Ghana and codifies the
law in such areas as child custody, health, and education.



--------------------------


Para 19, Protection and Assistance to Victims


--------------------------





A. (U) Any protection or shelter given to the victims of
trafficking, either international or domestic, is done on a
case-by-case basis, as resources are limited. In many cases,
the authorities do try to reunite trafficked and abused
children with their families. NGOs have sought to provide
services the police and social services cannot by
establishing a few crisis centers. However, as awareness of
the problem grows and trafficking victims seek assistance,
the limited resources for providing such assistance becomes
more strapped.



B. (U) See para 17, D.



C. (U) If they are arrested, the victims of international
trafficking are prosecuted on an occasional, case-by-case
basis, for offenses such as possession of altered travel
documents. In 2000, Ghana Immigration officials detained six
PRC nationals with fake U.S. visas who were being trafficked
through Accra from Hong Kong to the United States. The PRC
nationals were prosecuted for possession of counterfeit
documents and sentenced to six months in a local prison.



D. (SBU) We are unaware of trafficking victims' being
encouraged to seek redress against traffickers.



E. (U) The Government does not provide specific protection
for victims of trafficking beyond those available to all
crime victims or witnesses.



F. (U) Aside from Ghana Immigration,s internal trafficking
seminars, Post is not aware of any other GOG funded training.
Much of the specialized training for officials in the past
year has been sponsored by NGOs with outside donor funds.
The Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) of the National Police,
using INL funds, is currently working on internal training as
well as community outreach initiatives on trafficking and
domestic violence issues.



G. (U) Repatriated victims of trafficking are given
assistance on an ad hoc basis. Though the Government has no
formal program to provide assistance to victims of
trafficking per se, WAJU assists victims of abuse and
violence, including trafficking victims. Crisis centers are
extremely few. The Department of Social Welfare has a few
children,s homes and remand homes, but these are generally
inappropriate and inadequate to deal with trafficking
victims. Many NGOs, working closely with local authorities,
are beginning to step in where official resources are lacking
to provide safe havens, counseling and transportation back
home.



H. (U) Several NGOs, both local and international, work with
trafficking victims. African Centre for Human Development,
Save the Children UK, Children in Need, Action Aid, Catholic
Action for Street Children, the Gender and Human Rights
Documentation Center, Catholic Relief Services, Street Girls
Aid, ILO/IPEC and UNICEF all work in the areas of child labor
and support for street children. These organizations, as
well as the University of Ghana's Center for Social Policy
Studies, conduct studies into trafficking as part of their
broader agenda, perform some rescue operations for street
kids, provide training and education for victims of
trafficking and abuse, and in some cases, assist with family
reunification.



--------------------------


Point of Contact


--------------------------





3. (U) Embassy point of contact for this report is PolOff
Kerry Schnier; telephone (233-21)-775-348, ext. 239; fax
(233-21)-776-008.
PERGL