Human Trafficking: Girls Are Being Trafficked From Nigeria To Ghana
The trafficking rates in Nigeria are alarming, and now girls are also being trafficked to Ghana.
Across Africa trafficking is a growing menace that seems not to be attracting a lot of attention. Frequently girls tell stories of their ordeals in the media and yet it seems to no be making a dent. The traffickers are relentless in their ways. Currently, girls are being trafficked from Nigeria to Ghana.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Jennifer talks of her journey to Kumasi from Nigeria. She left Nigeria in May, hoping to secure a job as a waitress in Kumasi so that she could send money to her mother in Ondo state. But Jennifer met a different reality in Kumasi.
"Please, get me out of here, this life is devastating," Jennifer said. “They put me immediately on the street, forcing me to prostitute from 8 pm till morning, every day,'' she said in a bar on Harper Road. “Each night, I receive up to eight clients, and end up having $20 to $25 in my hands.”
The story is not so different for Blessing, a 26-year-old who was convinced by local middlemen to leave Lokoja in Nigeria to Ghana.
“I am the oldest of five sisters and brothers: when our parents died, I knew I had to take care of them,” she said.
“They introduced me to a woman, who brought me to a fetish priest and told me I owed her 8,000 cedis [about $1,500] for my transportation: I had to prostitute to pay that sum back.”
Blessing turned down the offer and ran away. But after working at a local market and making $30 a month, she turned to prostitution.
According to Blessing, she has met many women in Dichemso with similar experience. Dichemso is the heart of prostitution in Ghana. It is situated on the opposite side of Kumasi's city centre.
“Dichemso is where Kumasi's sex industry is flourishing, thanks to different guesthouses and hotels, such as the Plaza,” said Bright Owusu, an independent researcher who has spent the last three years meeting Nigerian women forced into prostitution in the city.
One of these guesthouses houses twenty Nigerian women, and it is controlled by a few men at the entrance.
Bright Owusu explained, “Some of these women know they'll be coming for prostitution, but they don't know that once here, they'll lose control over their life.”
Victoria Klimova, a project coordinator at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ghana, said that national authorities do not have complete information on sex trafficking.
To support the government's strategy to combat trafficking, IOM launched a programme. They gather data on trafficking and labour exploitation in Ghana. And the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) supported the investigation in part.
Still, much progress was recorded since then. According to the US Department of State, trafficking investigation which opened last year has seen just three people convicted.
Stories of trafficking have been forthcoming over the years. And what has remained consistent is that girls are the target, and desperation plays a role in making these girls vulnerable to trafficking.
While the responsibility to provide better economic condition lies on the government, parents ought to try and not put undue pressure and responsibility on their children by asking them to provide.
Read also: The Human Trafficking Menace In Nigeria