All publications of Anang Jeremiah ashirifi . Kumasi , Ghana
Ghana has become a significant trans-shipment point for illegal drugs, particularly cocaine from South America and heroin from Afghanistan. Ghana has taken limited steps to combat illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Trafficking has also fueled increasing domestic drug consumption. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has an office in the Embassy and works closely with the Narcotics Control Board, which coordinates government counter-narcotics efforts. These activities include enforcement and control, education, treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ghana are severe; convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The use of illegal drugs procured in Ghana may have life-threatening consequences. There have been several deaths of U.S. citizens resulting from the use of narcotics procured locally.
Women and girls from China, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso have been subjected to forced prostitution after arriving in Ghana. Citizens from other West African countries are subjected to forced labor in Ghana in agriculture or involuntary domestic servitude. Trafficking victims endure extremes of harsh treatment, including long hours, debt bondage, lack of pay, physical risks, and sexual abuse.
Ghana is a country of origin, transit, and destination for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. The nonconsensual exploitation of Ghanaian citizens, particularly children, is more common than the trafficking of foreign migrants. The movement of internally trafficked children is either from rural to urban areas, or from one rural area to another, as from farming to fishing communities.
U.S. citizens frequently consult the U.S. Embassy regarding questionable business offers originating or claiming to originate from Ghana. Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. Such fraudulent schemes are now prevalent throughout West Africa. Business scams typically begin with an unsolicited communication (usually by e-mail) from an unknown individual who pitches a business opportunity promising quick financial gain. These “opportunities” usually involve the transfer of a large sum of money or valuables out of the country and the payment of a series of “advance fees,” such as fees to open a bank account or to pay certain taxes in order to complete the transaction; however, the final payoff never occurs. The purpose of the scams is to collect money from the victim through these fees. The Embassy has received reports of fraudulent charities soliciting contributions via the internet or direct mail. If you receive business offers or charity requests, particularly unsolicited ones, carefully check out the requesting entity before committing any funds, providing any goods or services, or undertaking any travel.
In Accra and other urban areas, thieves and armed robbers target motorists using ruses to extort money. In some cases, robbers have intentionally caused minor accidents or pretended to be hit in order to get vehicles to stop. Others have attempted to “warn” drivers of a mechanical problem or flat tire. Maintain sufficient distance between your vehicle and the one ahead while stopped in traffic to enable evasive action and to avoid being in a situation where criminals box you in.
Local drivers do not abide by the rules of the road, and police enforce traffic laws unevenly, even in major cities. Excessive speeding, unpredictable driving behavior, and lack of adherence to basic safety standards for local vehicles are widespread. Many vehicles are unlicensed, and most drivers lack basic driver training or insurance. Use defensive driving techniques, including maintaining sufficient following distances to avoid accidents.
Property crimes against foreigners remain a concern, especially residential burglaries and vehicle theft. Carjacking occurs sporadically; on average fewer than 10 incidents occur each month nationwide, half of which happen in the Greater Accra Region. There have been burglary attempts against expatriate residences, but perpetrators generally lack the sophistication required to overcome home alarm systems and security guards. Guard dogs have also been known to scare off intruders. Robbers may wait outside houses to ambush residents as they enter or exit the property.