Young female Nigerians are being trafficked to Ghana for sexual exploitation through the conspiracy of some Ghanaians and Nigerians under the pretext of securing decent and well-paying jobs for them in Ghana.
Ghana’s Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, and some major cities in the region have been flooded by these sex-trafficked victims from Nigeria.
The Bula Spot and Little Ben shoe facilities are the two most notorious brothels in Koforidua occupied by an estimated seventy (70) trafficked girls from Nigeria.
The owners of these two places rent out the facilities to the sex traffickers to accommodate their victims and use same as brothels.
Girls with ages as low as 16 are trafficked to these two brothels under the guise of working in restaurants, hotels, and shopping malls among others only to be forced into prostitution upon arrival.
They are sexually exploited for at least three to four months to repay all travel expenses and other costs before they are given the freedom to operate on their own.
The victims are confined in these brothels and policed by bouncers hired by the traffickers.
The bouncers escort the victims whenever granted permission to go out for something pressing. This is to prevent them from escaping or speaking to strangers.
The victims are forced to sleep during the daytime and work at night when clients solicit sexual intercourse in exchange for cash.
These two brothels located in the heart of Koforidua have many cubicles where these trafficked girls sexually satisfy their clients at varied fees ranging from Ghc30 per round of sexual intercourse.
“For a sleepover, give me Ghc300 but the short time is Ghc30,” one of the trafficked girls said.
The traffickers do not allow the victims to be taken away by clients, however, one may be allowed under a special arrangement of paying at least Ghc300 plus Ghc50 for a bouncer who will police the victim to wherever she will be taken to.
Monies accrued are paid to the traffickers whom they call “madam”.
It is 11:00 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Koforidua while many workers are asleep, these trafficked girls are awake standing in front of the brothels enticing men to patronize their sexual services.
One of the trafficked girls, Traijel, told me she arrived in Ghana three weeks ago through an agent who said she had secured a job for her only to be forced into prostitution.
She had been addicted to drinking alcohol and smoking cigarette to enable her to sleep with at least five men per night.
Traijel introduced Akosua Dadzie as her “madam” to wit a trafficker who received her in Ghana.
Akosua Dadzie, a Ghanaian, says she has four of these trafficked girls working for her. Akosua Dadzie is not a resident of Koforidua, but rather from Accra.
Some of the victims who are unable to endure the ordeal of sexual exploitation escape.
The following conversation ensued between EIB’s Eastern Regional correspondent Kojo Ansah and Akosua.
Journalist: I want to take one of your girls away, I don’t feel comfortable sleeping with her here at the brothel. But she said she wouldn’t go unless I speak to you
Akosua (Trafficker ): The fair girl?
journalist : Yes, Traijel
Akosua: Yes she is one of my four girls but I beg you don’t be angry. That is the instruction I have given to them. She is a stranger she doesn’t know anywhere. I have warned them not to go out with clients. They don’t know anywhere. I don’t know anywhere.
Akosua: Yes, I don’t know anywhere. I am from Accra. I rent these places.
Akosua: The girls work for me. They are four (4) . The rest are not my girls.
Journalist: I need a special exemption. So what is the arrangement? I want to take her outside.
Akosua: Outside will be difficult
Finally, Ghc300 plus Ghc50 for the bouncer to guard the victim at the hotel and bring her back to the brothel was agreed on.
She said, “many married men come here to patronize their service . They mostly sleep with them here. The place is not a ghetto room”.
Akosua welcomed a pretentious proposal to traffick some girls from the village to her for commercial sex exploitation.
“I like the bad girls more because they know much about sex. When they come they will serve for four months. After which they will be independent”.
Trafficked Nigeria Girl impregnated, infected with HIV and abandoned.
The investigations uncovered a harrowing condition of a trafficked Nigerian girl, Somtooma (not her real name ). Her National Health Insurance card indicates she was born on September 5, 2001.
The 20-year-old girl was trafficked to Ghana and forced into commercial sex acts, however, she got impregnated, infected with HIV and thrown out to the street.
A good Samaritan Ibrahim Amavor who is also an Islamic radio preacher went to the rescue of the hunger-stricken six-month pregnant victim.
“It came to a point every evening whenever I’m going to town from 6:30 to 7 pm, I saw this girl sitting at the traffic point on a bench wearing the same dress so it kicked my heart to get closer to her. When I got close to her I started to interview her to find out what her problem was but I noticed she was pregnant…she told me she doesn’t have any place to stay, later she told me they are living in one house behind Normal technical.
“She told me she was hungry so I brought her home, and gave her food so she stayed with me for a while up to 9:30 pm when I escorted her to go home. The following day I went to the house to look for her then they told me she is no more living there…a week after, she called me around 9:30 pm and said she was in town at Total 2,” Amevor narrated.
He continued that, “At the time I met her she was 6 months to 7 months Pregnant…I asked her where her antenatal card was she told me she doesn’t have it. I sent her to the Alata chief but he was very sick so they directed me to the chairman. I went there but he told me he can’t handle it so he gave me a number to call and see the representative of the Nigeria Ambassador in the Eastern region so I went to him and I explained everything to him with the girl as well and he told me that I should go and that he will see us later after discussing the matter in a meeting But he never showed up.
Ibrahim Amevor further said “I consulted one of my legal practitioners and she told me to report to the police so I reported and wrote my statement. She gave us her mother’s number to call her but when we called the mother in Nigeria the mother sounded like a poor helpless woman. According to the girl if you reach Lagos you will take another bus and spend the night before you get to her hometown.
On April 31, 2022, the victim gave birth through Cesarean delivery at the Eastern Regional Hospital but suffered severe puerperal psychosis.
“They admitted us for almost one week at the hospital then they discharged us, even the medical bill was a problem but some benevolent people helped. After a week she started behaving strangely so I sent her to the hospital but the problem is things are not easy what to eat is even very difficult. Social welfare couldn’t help us when we went to them”.
Ibrahim Amevor wants the Nigerian High commissioner to Ghana to help rescue and reintegrate many of such sex-trafficked girls in Koforidua with their families in Nigeria.
“I am appealing to the Nigeria High Commissioner that there are many things happening on the ground. Through this interview I want him to come in so that the child can go back to his family. There are many things happening on the ground he can commission some people to come on the ground and see things by themselves before it gets out of hand. Some women have taken it upon themselves to do no job but to traffic these young girls. These girls are not from the cities in Nigeria they are from typical villages ”
The Eastern Regional Vice Chairman of the Association of Nigerians, Christian Ofor narrated that one of the trafficked girls recently escaped but the Koforidua District Police Command failed to take her statement hence the victim stormed out of the police station and went to Accra.
He wants the Ghana Police Service to arrest the kingpins involved in trafficking young girls from Nigeria to Ghana.
US Department of State report on Human Trafficking in Ghana
The 2005 Human Trafficking Act, amended in 2009, criminalized sex trafficking and labour trafficking.
The Human Trafficking Act prescribes penalties of a minimum of five years imprisonment, which were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Ghana was upgraded from Tier 2 Watch List to a Tier 2 ranking in the 2018 TIP Report on human trafficking. The country is still conducive to human trafficking.
The report pointed out that the Government of Ghana does not fully meet the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.
According to the 2021 US Department of State report, the government of Ghana maintained anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts.
However, the 2015 regulations for this Act, which are non-discretionary and have the force of law, provided specific guidance on sentencing depending on the circumstances; in general, the term is not less than five years imprisonment and not more than 25 years imprisonment, but if a parent, guardian, or another person with parental responsibilities facilitates or engages in trafficking, they are liable to a fine, five to 10 years imprisonment, or both. By allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment, these penalties were not commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Ghana investigated 87 trafficking cases, including 63 labour trafficking and 24 sex trafficking cases, in 2020, compared with investigating 137 cases in 2019.
The government initiated prosecutions of 18 alleged labour traffickers and continued prosecutions of four alleged labour traffickers, compared with prosecutions of 37 defendants in 2019. Additionally, the government prosecuted four defendants for exploitative child labour using the Children’s Act of 1998, compared with five in 2019; in some cases, the government prosecuted trafficking cases under the Children’s Act when there was insufficient evidence of trafficking.
The US Department of State report indicated that the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials allegedly complicit in human trafficking crimes; however, official corruption and complicity in trafficking remained concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action during the year.
Observers alleged that traffickers operated with the support or acquiescence of law enforcement or justice officials and that some government officials interfered in law enforcement proceedings.