The Dark Side of Ghana

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Ghana is well known for it’s dark chocolate. Infact, it is the 2nd largest chocolate exporter in the world. Several children are forced into child labour for the extraction of cocoa seeds and they are made to work from the crack of dawn till night. To keep the price of chocolate minimum, child labour is infused since children are not paid for their work. Top international chocolate brands such as Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars buy cocoa from them. Apart from child labour, there is another ritual since prevalent in Ghana that is inflicted upon young women.
Trokosi or female ritual servitude still exists in parts of Ghana, Togo , Benin and parts of Nigeria too till this very day. It takes place when a member if a family commits a crime. The crime can be rape,theft , murder etc. And once the crime is uncovered the family members fear punishment from the gods. So in order to please the gods, the father of the family would take one of his virgin daughters and give her to a local shrine as atonement for the crimes made by the family member. The shrines are run by old male priests. The young girls are forced to work for these priests without any proper education, food or clothing and often raped and sexually assaulted and in many cases leaving her with children  who continue to live and work in these shrines. However NGO’s and other human rights organizations are fighting this practice. Many individuals and private groups in Ghana have had successes in persuading priests to stop this practice.
Since 1998, International Needs Ghana which is a local group played an integral part in a campaign which led to the release of around 2,800 Trokosi girls and the banning of the Trokosi practice in Ghana. Even Today, International Needs help many of the liberated girls by providing education and vocational training.At the Adidome Vocational Training Centre, the girls can take free training courses to learn new skills. They can learn how to bake, sew , make beauty products and so on.
They are also given literacy classes.The centre also offers medical check-ups counselling and support for the girls. And once they are done with the training and leave the centre they are supported with equipments so they can begin their own small business and make a living.