The government maintained victim protection efforts. The government reported identifying and referring 574 trafficking victims to services in 2022, compared with identifying and referring 727 victims to services in 2021 and 391 in 2020. This included 484 labor trafficking victims, 84 sex trafficking victims, and six victims where the form of trafficking was unspecified. The majority of identified victims were children (359) and 361 were Ghanaian. Of the 217 foreign national victims, most were Nigerian; other victims identified were from Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, and Niger. NGOs identified an additional 249 trafficking victims, including 233 labor trafficking victims and 16 sex trafficking victims.
The government had SOPs to identify trafficking victims and refer them to services. However, observers reported limited resources and a lack of coordination between the government and civil society at times hampered implementation of the SOPs. District Department of Social Welfare (DSW) personnel accompanied local law enforcement on anti-trafficking operations and conducted screenings to identify potential victims; however, these teams reported to local governments rather than a centralized government entity. Observers reported decentralization, lack of funding, and poor management impeded the DSW’s effectiveness and sometimes resulted in inadequate and inconsistent treatment of victims.
Officials referred all 578 victims to government shelter services or NGOs for care compared with referring all 727 victims to services in 2021. The government operated a shelter for adult female trafficking victims and, with an international organization’s support, operated a shelter for child trafficking victims. Two government-run shelters for child abuse victims could accommodate child trafficking victims. Officials could also refer victims to twelve private shelters, including two shelters that could accommodate adult male victims. However, observers reported overall shelter capacity, especially for child trafficking victims, remained insufficient. Government services for women and children included shelter, medical care, needs assessments, psycho-social care, education and skills training, interpretation for foreign national victims, assistance obtaining identity documents, registration with the national health service, and assistance during legal proceedings. Through its Human Trafficking Fund (HTF), the government expended 1,440,000 Ghanaian cedis ($125,215) for victim services and shelter operations in 2022, a significant increase compared with expending 650,000 cedis ($56,520) in 2021. Foreign victims had the same access to care as Ghanaian victims. Foreign victims could seek temporary residency during legal proceedings and, with the Interior Minister’s approval, permanent residency if deemed to be in the victim’s best interest; officials did not report how many, if any, foreign victims it granted temporary or permanent residency. The government coordinated with an international organization and foreign governments to repatriate Ghanaian victims identified abroad and foreign victims identified in Ghana.
Access to victim services was not conditioned on cooperation with law enforcement proceedings. The government, in cooperation with NGOs, provided victim-witness assistance, including legal services, funding for lodging and transportation, and psycho-social support. Victims could provide video or written testimony, and some courts had child-friendly spaces that allowed child victims to testify from a separate room via video. Observers reported some judges set aside consecutive days for trafficking victims’ testimony to reduce revictimization and significantly decrease trial length. However, officials did not always protect victims’ confidentiality. Law enforcement sometimes brought victims and accused traffickers together when conducting interviews, which placed enormous pressure on victims to change their testimony. The law allowed trafficking victims to obtain restitution; however, the government did not report courts awarded restitution to any victims. Victims could file civil suits against their traffickers, but none reportedly did so.
from 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – U.S. Department of State
2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State