A teacher and her baby in Cape Coast, Ghana for the Hope Education Project, Ghana, a sex trafficking education and awareness program


THE HOPE EDUCAtion project pilot

Committed policy in Ghana
“…the government will commit to implementing a coordinated campaign strategy to deepen the awareness and understanding of trafficking, in schools, communities and in families perceived to be at risk”
National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Human Trafficking in Ghana 2017-2021

Ghana is fully committed to combating human trafficking in all its forms and ensuring the rights of individuals are upheld.
National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Human Trafficking in Ghana 2022-2026

Human Trafficking in Ghana

A group of young muslim girls sit under a tree in Dimala, Sagnarigu Municipal, Tamale

The Government launched “The National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Human Trafficking in Ghana 2022-2026” in March 2022. The US Department of State Trafficking in Persons 2023 (TIP23) report found that human trafficking exists nationwide and that of the 574 reported cases, 359 or 62% were identified as children. NGOs in Ghana identified a significant number of cases.

Ghanaian girls and young women from the rural northern regions are increasingly moving to urban centres to seek work as porters, known locally as kayaye. The push factors are diverse but they include climate change, lack of educational opportunities for girls, familial breakdown and lack of employment opportunities. One study reported that 20% of kayaye had been forced to have sex against their will whilst working in the South and another that 50% of children born to kayaye mothers at Korle Bu Hospital in Accra were abandoned by their mothers.

Women and young girls are trafficked within Ghana, to the Middle East, other West African countries and Europe for commercial sex work. There is scant research data on the extent of the increasing problem of child sex trafficking in Ghana. UNICEF reports that Ghana is a major destination for sex tourism and the often small-scale research that has been undertaken points to child sex trafficking being prevalent throughout the country.

Labour trafficking in Ghana is a significant issue. Ghanaian children are trafficked internally and throughout West Africa for exploitative labour, including domestic service. Children are trafficked internally to work in the fishing industry around Lake Volta and as labour in the cocoa industry. The recent CNN exposé on children in fishing and action by the cocoa industry has shone an international light on the issues of child labour and trafficking. However, the poorer, less industrialised, less educated and climate-ravaged north has received little attention and even less academic assessment. 

The North East of Ghana

Location of Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana
Location of Tamale, Northern Region (click to expand)

The North East of Ghana is increasingly vulnerable to human trafficking due to longstanding ethnic conflicts around Bawku, porous borders with Burkina Faso and Togo, and a prevalent culture of banditry and illicit trafficking. Recent armed lawlessness, ethnically motivated attacks against bus passengers in Walewale and on routes north to Bawku and population displacements from Togo are laying fertile ground for traffickers. These factors, compounded by the presence and activities of jihadist groups in the Sahel Region exploiting the region’s instability, underscore the critical need for a focused human trafficking intervention program in this area. You can read a fuller explanation of why we chose to loacte our pilot project in Northern Ghana on our page Why Northern Ghana.

The Pilot Project

The Hope Education Project will launch its pilot project in one of the areas of most need: Tamale, Northern Region. We have secured permission from the Ghana Education Service to run the pilot between October and December 2024 in Junior High Schools in the Tamale Metropolitan and Sagnerigu Districts. We will also be running a community program for the parents of the school children. Increasingly through the internet and NGO programs like HEP’s, children are acquiring knowledge before their parents so it is vital to bring the parents along with the children’s learnings.

We will also run a pilot program working with out-of-school girls, a particularly at-risk community. The program will be aimed at girls who have dropped out of school because they cannot pay for uniforms or books or have nothing to do after completing school or are looking for ways to finance higher education.  Generally educating girls is a low priority for families in the North so they must look for ways to finance their own education.

For the pilot, we will be working with our theatre partner Act for Change which has designed the participatory theatre elements of the program. They will be building on their extensive work with vulnerable communities in Jamestown, Accra. We will also be working with our implementation partner Norsaac which will develop and implement the monitoring and evaluation program. Their work will enable HEP to evaluate and refine the program post-pilot and provide evidence to support further funding applications to enable us to roll out the program within Ghana.