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2005-02-28 17:44:00
Embassy Accra
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 ACCRA 000432 



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 04 STATE 273089





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 04 STATE 273089


1. (SBU) This is the first of post's two-cable response to
reftel which requests information for the fifth annual
Trafficking in Persons Report. Ghana has problems with both
domestic and international human trafficking. The GOG,
international and local NGOs have combined efforts to focus
on combating domestic trafficking in children, the cultural
complacency that allows such trafficking, and related
hazardous child labor. Efforts to combat international
trafficking have been hampered by a number of factors: slow
action on enacting appropriate legislation criminalizing
trafficking, changes in the leadership of agencies that lead
GOG efforts on the issue, and the lack of human and material
resources common to most developing nations. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The following responses are keyed to reftel.

Para 18: Overview

A. (U) Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country
for women and children trafficked for the purpose of forced
domestic and commercial labor and sexual exploitation.
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. The International Organization for
Migration (IOM) estimates that the number of trafficked
children working in fishing villages along the Volta Lake is
well into the thousands. (Note: Even IOM, which manages one
of the most successful and organized anti-trafficking
programs in the country, has difficult collecting this kind
of data. End note.) Women and girls are more vulnerable to
cross-border trafficking, particularly for the purposes of
sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Boys and girls
are equally vulnerable to trafficking for the purposes of

labor in the fishing villags and as 'kayaye' (porters) and
street hawking.

B. (U) Domestically, most trafficking is in children. The GoG
has identified a number of key 'child trafficking zones' that
are considered source areas, which are primarily in the
Central, Western, and southern Volta Regions. Key destination
areas are found along the fishing villages in the Brong
Ahafo, Eastern, and Volta Regions, as well as some cocoa
producing areas in Central and Western Regions. Children are
often trafficked from the north to the more populated and
commercial centers in the south to work as domestic servants,
street sellers, and porters.

Internationally, the majority of trafficking involves
children 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, mainly to work as prostitutes. Some Nigerian women
transit through 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. GoG officials confirm reports of child
trafficking to 'Ghana Town', a community of Ghanaian
fishermen in the Gambia, to work for Ghanaian masters there.
Children have also been trafficked to Nigeria after their
Ghanaian guardians were told they were going to work in Togo
(Note: There is a common ethnic group in the border areas
between Togo and Ghana, and there is greater cultural
acceptance in sending one's child to work for 'relatives' in
Togo than in sending them to work in Nigeria).

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) Most surveys on child trafficking are conducted in
connection with specific, localized projects that are jointly
carried out by NGOs and international organizations and the
GoG. Such surveys tend to be qualitative, not quantitative,
in nature and involve interviews with parents, children,
traditional rulers, and local government officials. There has
been no survey, and no capacity for such a survey, that would
account for accurate nationwide statistics on trafficking in
Ghana. In 2004, the Department of Social Welfare and ILO/IPEC
conducted a qualitative survey in the Northern Region and the
Upper East to assess the scope of trafficking in those
regions. This was the first trafficking field survey in these
regions to date. Although the final report had not yet been
released as of March 2005, the Department of Social Welfare
reports that trafficking is indeed a problem in the north.
The majority of trafficking in that region is internal -
traffickers exploit the impoverished conditions of the north
(a result of prolonged dry seasons and lack of employment
opportunities there), and children are trafficked to the
southern regions.

E. (U) Children from Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria
are trafficked to Ghana for forced work as laborers, domestic
servants, and prostitutes. 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) There is political will at the highest levels of the
GoG to combat trafficking-in-persons. In 2004, the Ministers
for Women and Chidren Affairs (MOWAC) and Manpower,
Development, and Employment (MMDE, which changed its name in
January 2005 to Manpower, Youth, and Employment, or MMYE), as
well as key officials from the Attorney General's office,
continued to work with the National Task Force to finalize
draft legislation for an anti-trafficking bill to be put
before Parliament. The MMDE, MOWAC, the Attorney General's
office, and the International Labor Organization (ILO)
collaborated throughout the year to hammer out final details
of the legislation before submitting it to the ministries for
final comments. Both of the key ministers involved made
public statements throughout the year signifying that the
legislation would unquestionably go before parliament
(although the timing of such action was always imprecise).
Additionally, at a September 2004 meeting with Togolese
officials who work along the border areas, the Minister of
Interior stated that the strong relationship between Ghana
and Togo must continue so that it can fight, among other
border-related crimes, human trafficking. This indicates that
senior GoG officials are becoming increasingly educated on
and sensitized to the issue of human trafficking.

The GoG is making a good faith effort to seriously address
trafficking. Various agencies within the GoG - including the
police service, Interpol, the Department of Social Welfare,
the immigration service, and district-level law enforcement
offices - have worked to combat trafficking despite a lack of
resources and legislative constraints. As a result of the
heightened commitment in terms of resources, in 2004, for the
first time ever, the Department of Social Welfare (which
falls under the MMYE) included a line item in its annual
budget for anti-trafficking programs. It increased this
request in 2005 to accommodate new programs; the 2005 budget
was still under review in March 2005. In 2005, the Ghana
Poverty Reduction Scheme is being reviewed (an exercise that
takes place only every five years), and the MMYE plans to
include trafficking programs as an updated component in this
scheme. The significance of this financial commitment to
combating trafficking by the GoG cannot be underestimated.
Government agencies in Ghana are all extremely underresourced
and the competition for material resources, including
staffing and equipment, is stiff.

In terms of prevention methods, Ghana has a National Plan to
Combat Trafficking. The National Task Force Against Human
Trafficking completed its task of drafting anti-trafficking
legislation in 2004. At the end of 2004, the draft
legislation was being reviewed by the MOWAC and MMDE for
formal comment so that it could be put before Parliament in

2005. This process was delayed by national elections, which
took place in December 2004. Very little parliamentary action
on any front took place in the months immediately preceding
the elections. After the inauguration of the new parliament
in early January, a Cabinet reshuffling required new
minister-designates to be vetted by Parliament. The
reshuffling resulted in new ministers for both MOWAC and
MMYE, as well as a new Attorney General. Meetings in February
2005 between the USG, the new ministers for MOWAC and MMYE,
and the new AG suggested that, despite a change in
leadership, the political will to combat trafficking is just
as strong - if not more so - under the new leadership of
these key ministries. This appears to be reinforced by a
proposed reshuffling taking place at the Deputy Minister and
Chief Director levels. Also during the year, the Women and
Juvenile Unit (WAJU) of the Ghana Police Service and the
Department of Social Welfare continued to reach out to
communities with their sensitization campaign. This involved
holding community meetings in areas affected by trafficking,
distributing handbills in local languages to educate people
about the issue, and organizing personal meetings with
parents in sending areas. In July 2004, the Department of
Social Welfare conducted a puppet show in a village in the
Central Region to sensitize a largely illiterate public about
the dangers of child trafficking. The Department of Social
Welfare plans to bring its successful traveling puppet show
to the northern sector when it begins programs there in 2005.

On the protection front, the GoG has continued its "Operation
Bring Your Children Home" campaign to encourage parents who
had sold their children to bring them home in exchange for
business assistance, vocational training, credit facilities,
and assistance with schools fees and uniforms. The GoG has
also supported a major anti-trafficking campaign with IOM to
rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate children trafficked to
the fishing villages in the Volta Region. MOWAC distributed
school uniforms and supplies to some of the children rescued
by the IOM project team in the Central Region and has pledged
to continue assisting IOM in future rescue missions. In 2004,
the GoG permitted IOM to use a facility (formerly a
government guest house) in the Brong Ahafo region as a
rehabilitation facility to carry out counseling and medical
checkups for children rescued from fishing villages and to
prepare the children to be reintegrated to their home
villages. The GoG has also committed the use of two
facilities in the Central Region and one in the Western
Region to be used as rehabilitation centers for trafficked
children for similar purposes in projects that IOM plans to
carry out in 2005.

There have been few prosecutions related to trafficking. Many
government/law enforcement officials and NGOs complain that
the lack of specific laws against trafficking impedes
prosecution of traffickers. However, the GoG continues to
prosecute traffickers under existing laws, including
abduction, child stealing, and child abuse. According to
WAJU, in 2004, there were 190 cases of reported abduction, 15
cases of child stealing, and 63 cases of exposing a child to
harm. Although data is not available on what percentage of
these cases constitutes trafficking cases, WAJU reports that
some of these cases would otherwise be prosecuted as
trafficking under the pending legislation. Data on
convictions is only available for the Accra region (which
handles most WAJU cases). In Accra in 2004, there were four
cases of abduction, one case of kidnapping, 1 case of
exposing a child to harm prosecuted under the law. Sentences
ranged from stiff fines and jail time to five years in jail.
(Note: Even when Ghana enacts anti-trafficking legislation,
actual prosecution of traffickers will likely be slow in
coming. The judicial system in Ghana is hugely overtaxed and
under-resourced. End Note.)

H. (U) One GoG official was implicated in a child trafficking
case in early 2004. The daughter of a Minister of Parliament
(MP) was sentenced in the U.S. for bringing a Ghanaian woman
into the U.S. and forcing her to work as a domestic servant.
The MP allegedly helped facilitate the woman's entry to the
U.S. under false pretenses. The U.S. has requested the
extradition of the MP, who was re-elected in December 2004
(and therefore continues to enjoy extradition immunity
privileges under Ghanaian law). The extradition case was
ongoing at year's end. (Note: Stripping the MP's immunity
privileges would require a vote by parliament. Although many
in the GoG do not condone her actions, they are reluctant to
set a precedent that would involve a removal of immunity
privileges. End note.)

I. (U) The Government is limited in addressing the problem of
trafficking by both culture and resources. Child trafficking
in Ghana is still an unknown concept for many. 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" and morally wrong is is not comprehensible to
many Ghanaians. Other, more exploitative forms of
trafficking, such as cross-border trafficking or children
recruited and trafficked by professionals, are recognized as
problems by the GoG, but law enforcement authorities are not
equipped with adequate training or financial resources to
deal with the problem. As one example, Interpol has a
one-woman unit in the Ghana Police Service that works with
trafficking issues without even a functional desktop computer
(Note: This is not for lack of GoG resources to
anti-trafficking, but is a common occurrence in many
government and law enforcement offices in Ghana. End note).
Access to very basic resources that would improve
anti-trafficking efforts - such as computer equipment to
facilitate case management and data collection, adequate
lines of telecommunication both within the country and across
borders, adequate physical office space and manpower, and
ease of transport for investigations throughout the region -
are challenges that face every law enforcement agency in

J. (U) The Government does not systematically monitor its
anti-trafficking efforts. However, for some agencies, data
collection and case management is improving with the
assistance of foreign donor contributions. The data and
assessment measures that do exist, as well as annual reports
that capture budget expenditures on trafficking and related
programs, are readily available when requested by Emboffs and
are often released to the press. The National Task Force
Against Human Trafficking meets regularly to assess its
progress and to discuss future action in its efforts.

K. (U) Prostitution is illegal in Ghana, but the commercial
sex industry is active nonetheless, and contributes to the
problem of HIV/AIDS in Ghana. The prevalence of commercial
sex workers is highest in the urban and transportation
centers around the country. Law enforcement efforts to
prosecute commercial sex workers are woefully inadequate for
the scope of the problem. A low-profile debate persists in
civil society about whether prostitution should be legalized
so that public resources can be devoted to helping control
the spread of HIV/AIDS in this population, or whether the
very underresourced law enforcement agencies should be more
vigilant in prosecuting prostitutes.

Para 19: Prevention

A. (U) The GoG adopted the ECOWAS Plan of Action in October
2001, and openly acknowledges that trafficking is a problem.
With the development of its National Plan, the GoG has begun
to address the problem on a coordinated and systematic basis.
The ECOWAS Plan mandated that states establish an operational
National Task Force on Trafficking by June 2002 and begin
national awareness campaigns. In early 2002, 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. The Ministers of MOWAC and MMDE frequently made
public statements about the problem of child trafficking
throughout the year. In September 2004, the ILO sponsored a
workshop to promote the media's sensitization to the issue
and to call for media practitioners to responsibly highlight
the problem of child trafficking and child labor in Ghana.
Additionally, other senior officials have made public
statements concerning child trafficking (see para 18 G). In
June 2004, MOWAC and the District Chief Executive (DCE) of a
community in the Eastern Region announced it had identified a
child trafficking zone in that area. The DCE said that it
would work with MOWAC to collect data on children who had
been trafficked from that area and help reintegrate them into
the community.

Some traditional rulers in Ghana have played a key part in to
anti-trafficking efforts. In many remote and rural areas,
traditional leadership carries far greater weight in
communities than central government leadership. For example,
an IOM project has rescued children trafficked from a remote
island village in the Brong Ahafo region identified as a
destination village for internal trafficking. Local leaders
have demonstrated cooperation with the IOM initiative to
rescue the children and help train fisherman in other trades
that will reduce their reliance on cheap labor. Traditional
leaders in both source and destination villages within Ghana
have been cooperative with NGOs, IOs, and the GoG in their
efforts to sensitize communities about the issue. For
thousands of illiterates in the numerous remote and isolated
regions, the buy-in of traditional leaders is essential. GoG
sensitization campaigns have also involved critical outreach
to these traditional rulers.

B. (U) The key ministries engaged with trafficking issues are
the Ministry for Manpower, Youth, and Employment (formerly
Manpower, Development, and Employment; the Department of
Social Welfare is part of this ministry), the Ministry for
Women and Children Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice.
Other ministries that are involved on program implementation
at the community level include the Ministry of Education, the
Ministry of Health, and the Ministry for Local Government and
Rural Development.

C. (U) There have been many government-run anti-trafficking
public campaigns (see para 18 G). In addition to these
programs, the MOWAC released a public statement in November
2004 to mark the International Day of Prevention of
Abuse/Violence Against Children, which noted an increase in
the problem of child trafficking and the need for greater
awareness of children's rights and welfare. The Department of
Social Welfare actively conducts sensitizations campaigns
that target the sending villages, especially in the Central
Region. This involves reaching out to parents, schools, and
community leaders to educate them about the issue of
trafficking. At a workshop in April 2004, the head of the
Ghana Child Labor Unit noted that part of its "Operation
Bring Your Children Home" campaign included direct outreach
in selected schools.

D. (U) In 2004-05, the Department of Social Welfare and
ILO/IPEC began a new program to train parents who had
trafficked their children to acquire marketable skills to
help meet their economic needs and prevent them from
trafficking their children again (their children had been
rescued and reintegrated). The sensitization phase of this
campaign was conducted in late 2004, and the training phase
was ongoing in March 2005. The Department of Social Welfare
plans to monitor and assess the output of this program later
in 2005. Meanwhile, the Ghana Education Service stepped up
its efforts to protect the rights and welfare of children.
The GoG strongly supported the U.N.'s Education for All
goals. The Ghana Education Service (GES) actively campaigned
in 2004 for expanded education of girls by providing
scholarships at the Junior Secondary School (JSS) and Senior
Secondary School (SSS) levels and by providing incentives for
female teachers to teach in rural areas. The GES also placed
Girls Education Officers at the regional and district levels.
These efforts have been accompanied by increased government
support of 'informal' schools, which target children who go
to school but also work to help support their families.

E. (U) Due to the scarcity of resources, the GoG is able to
support prevention programs in a very limited capacity. For
example, the host government contribution (usually in the
form of human resources) to many ongoing ILO/IPEC programs is
approximately 10%, depending on the specific project (e.g.,
some projects have a slightly higher GoG contribution, some
have a slightly lower contribution). For the first time in
2004, the MMYE included a line item in its annual budget
request for anti-trafficking programs (see para 18 G).

F. (U) The Government's relationship with NGOs, international
organizations, and civil society is constructive. The
Embassy's NGO, IO, and civil society contacts have been
unanimous in their view that the new ministers at MOWAC and
MMYE, who were appointed in February 2005, will be
cooperative on TIP issues.

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. In 2004, the Department of Social
Welfare increased its communication with airport officials to
be watchful for potential trafficking through the airport.
The Department is concerned about fraudulent adoption cases
and potential criminal motives behind these cases.

H. (U) See para 18 G and 19 A.

I. (U) See para 18 D and G, and 19 A, D, and F. Additionally
Interpol, a part of the Ghana Police Service, is very active
in anti-trafficking efforts in cross-border cases. However,
law enforcement and NGO leaders complain that there is a
serious lack of cross-border coordination and that more must
be done to improve communication between relevant agencies in
the sub-region. One success story: In 2002, the GoG and ILO
sponsored a bilateral conference for Ghana and Nigeria on the
issue of human trafficking in Accra. As a result of
partnerships formed at this conference, the head of the
trafficking unit at Interpol-Ghana and a contact in Nigeria
(who also attended the bilateral conference) were able to
work together in November 2004 to identify six Ghanaian girls
who had been trafficked from Ghana to Lagos, Nigeria. The
girls were later successfully returned to Ghana.

J. (U) The GOG has a National Plan to Combat Trafficking as
well as a National Task Force made up of the Ministries of
Justice, Manpower Youth 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 2002, in large part
because of changes in leadership 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 operational
level, which helps coordinate trafficking programs
nationwide. A key first step outlined in the National Action
Plan was the drafting of anti-trafficking legislation to put
before parliament. This process was completed in 2004, and
the legislation has moved to the point of Cabinet
consideration as of March 2005.

K. (U) The Ministry of Justice has the lead on developing
the new law against trafficking. The MMYE takes the lead on
the program level to combating child labor as well as child
trafficking. When the legislation goes to Cabinet for final
consideration before the parliamentary vote, Cabinet will
recommend whether the MOWAC or MMYE should chair the
Executive Secretariat.