Ghana has a population of 26 million, in which one in four people are under the age of ten. 30% of children in Ghana do not attend primary school, and a massive 60% of children do not attend secondary school. 33% of children are used for child labour. 30% of adults cannot read or write, and 20% of adults are married by the age of 18. The adolescent birth rate is 70%.
Crimes against children are not uncommon in parts of Ghana, with practices such as Trokosi slavery still operating. Trokosi (in English meaning “slaves of the gods”) is a tradition practiced in south-east Ghana by which families give their virgin daughters to village priests as a way of removing a curse that was placed on the family for the sins of their ancestors. Subsequently, the daughter becomes a slave to the priest and is made to do all of the household jobs such as cooking, washing, farming and fetching water. After the onset of menstruation, the child is also expected to engage in sexual activity.
Boys in Ghana are also subject to some of the worst forms of agricultural child labour in the world. A practice known as “bonded child labour” sees boys as young as 6 being taken from their families by a herd owner. The herd owner promises the family a calf in return for the labour of their child. The child is sent out very early in the morning and returns very late at night, often working in dangerous conditions and being provided with very little food and water and no education. It is common for the child to be subject to corporal punishment and other abuse by the herd owner, to prevent him from running away. The family often never receives the promised calf, and some families never see their child again.