Family networks responsible for “slavery” in Ghana – Global Slavery Index

child labour

There are an estimated 193,100 people in slavery in Ghana, according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index (GSI) report.

Trafficking for forced labour is the most prevalent form of modern slavery. Internal trafficking, particularly of children, is more widespread than transnational trafficking.

Within Ghana, sectors most affected by modern slavery are small scale fishing, small scale mining, domestic service and agriculture.

The human trafficking in Ghana does not occur through networks of organised crime and across national borders. Rather, it often occurs through small, family related networks, whereby parents and family members knowingly or unknowingly facilitate the process.

Boys and girls are moved within the country and subjected to conditions of forced labour in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, the sex industry and agriculture.

Ghana is ranked at 21 out of the 167 countries surveyed.

Globally, some 35.8 million people are currently trapped in modern-day slavery, forced to pick cotton, grow cannabis and prostitute themselves among other things, the GSI report says.

In its second annual report, the GSI showed some 20 percent more people were enslaved across the world than originally thought.

“There is an assumption that slavery is an issue from a bygone era. Or that it only exists in countries ravaged by war and poverty,” said Andrew Forrest, chairman of the Australian-based Walk Free Foundation which produced the report.

The foundation’s definition of modern slavery includes slavery-like practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage and the sale or exploitation of children, as well as human trafficking and forced labour.

The report, which covers 167 countries, said modern slavery contributed to the production of at least 122 goods from 58 countries. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates profits from this forced labour are $150 billion (120 billion euros) a year.

Worst offenders

The biggest offender, with the highest proportion of its population enslaved, remains the west African nation Mauritania, where slavery of black Moors by Berber Arabs is an entrenched part of society.

In second place was Uzbekistan where, every autumn, the government forces over one million people, including children, to harvest cotton.

The highest numbers of modern slaves were found in India with an estimated 14.29 million enslaved.