As far back as 1874, the Legislature passed the Slaves’ Emancipation Ordinance (Cap. 108) and Slave-Dealing Abolition Ordinance (Cap. 109).
Section 2 of the Slave-Dealing Abolition Ordinance provided that every person who as a slave was brought in or induced to come to this country to be dealt with or traded in, sold, purchased, bartered, transferred or taken or to become or became a slave, or placed in servitude or transferred as a pledge or security for debt should become and was declared to be a free person.
Section 2 of the Slaves’ Emancipation Ordinance provided that any person who after the fifth day of November 1874 would have been or would be born within the Gold Coast Colony who under native customary law would have been liable to become a slave or to be held in slavery should be and was declared a free person to all intents and purposes.
By section 1 of the Re-affirmation of the Abolition of Slavery Ordinance, the provisions of these two legislations were extended to apply to the Gold Coast, now Ghana, and slavery as such as by section 2 of that Ordinance unequivocably declared unlawful and the legal status of slavery non-existent.
The provisions of these legislations have been re-enacted in section 314 of the Ghana Criminal Code 1960 (Act 29)…
Article 12: Protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms
(1) The fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in this Chapter shall be respected and upheld by the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and all other organs of government and its agencies and, where applicable to them, by all natural and legal persons in Ghana, and shall be enforceable by the courts as provided for in this Constitution.
Article 14: Protection of personal liberty
(1) Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except in the following cases and in accordance with procedure permitted by law
(a) in execution of a sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been convicted; or
(b) in execution of an order of a court punishing him for contempt of court; or
(c) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of an order of a court; or
(d) in the case of a person suffering from an infectious or contagious disease, a person of unsound mind, a person addicted to drugs or alcohol or a vagrant, for the purpose of his care or treatment or the protection of the community; or
(e) for the purpose of the education or welfare of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years; or
(f) for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of that person into Ghana, or of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of that person from Ghana or for the purpose of restricting that person while he is being lawfully conveyed through Ghana in the course of his extradition or removal from one country to another; or
(g) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana.
Article 15: Respect for human dignity
(1) The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
(2) No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or retained, be subjected to
(a) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(b) any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.
(3) A person who has not been convicted of a criminal offence shall not be treated as a convicted person and shall be kept separately from convicted persons.
(4) A juvenile offender who is kept in lawful custody or detention shall be kept separately from an adult offender.
Article 16: Protection from slavery and forced labour
(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.
(3) For the purposes of this article, "forced labour" does not include-
Article 21: General fundamental freedoms
(1) All persons shall have the right to –
(g) freedom of movement which means the right to move freely in Ghana, the right to leave and to enter Ghana and immunity from expulsion from Ghana.
(2) A restriction on a person's freedom of movement by his lawful detention shall not be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this article.
(4) Nothing in, or done under the authority of, a law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, this article to the extent that the law in question makes provision-
(a) for the imposition of restrictions by order of a court, that are required in the interest of defence, public safety or public order, on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person; or
(b) for the imposition of restrictions, by order of a court, on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person either as a result of his having been found guilty of a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana or for the purposes of ensuring that he appears before a court at a later date for trial for a criminal offence or for proceedings relating to his extradition or lawful removal from Ghana
Article 24: Economic rights
(1) Every person has the right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions, and shall receive equal pay for equal work without distinction of any kind.
(2) Every worker shall be assured of rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periods of holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.
(3) Every worker has a right to form or join a trade union of his choice for the promotion and protection of his economic and social interests.
(4) Restrictions shall not be placed on the exercise of the right conferred by clause (3) of this article except restrictions prescribed by law and reasonably necessary in the interest of national security or public order or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others
Section 100—Effect of Void or Voidable Marriage with Respect to Consent
If a female is compelled to marry another person by duress as to make the marriage void or voidable, marriage is of no effect for the purpose of Part I of this Code with respect to consent.
(a) procures any person under twenty-one years of age, not being a prostitute or of known immoral character to have carnal or an unnatural carnal connexion in Ghana or elsewhere with any other person; or
(b) procures any person to become a prostitute in Ghana or elsewhere; or
(c) procures any person to leave Ghana with the intention that the person becomes an inmate of a brothel elsewhere; or
(d) procures any person to leave his usual place of abode (not being a brothel) in Ghana with the intention that the person becomes an inmate of a brothel in Ghana or elsewhere for prostitution; or
(e) by threats or intimidation procures or attempts to procure any person to have any carnal or unnatural carnal connexion in Ghana or elsewhere; or
(f) by false pretences or false representations procures any person not being a prostitute or of known immoral character to have any carnal or unnatural carnal connexion in Ghana or elsewhere; or
(g) applies, administers to, or causes to be taken by any person, any drug, matter or thing, with intent to stupefy or overpower the person as to enable any person to have a carnal or unnatural connexion with the person
shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.
(2) A person shall not be convicted of any offence under this section on the evidence of one witness, unless the witness is corroborated in some material particular by evidence implicating the accused person.
Section 108—Causing or Encouraging the Seduction or Prostitution of a Child Under Sixteen.
(1) Whoever having the custody, charge or care of a child under the age of sixteen years causes or encourages the seduction, carnal knowledge or unnatural carnal knowledge, prostitution or commission of indecent assault upon the child shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.
(2) For the purpose of this section, a person shall be deemed to have caused or encouraged the seduction, carnal knowledge or unnatural carnal knowledge, prostitution or commission of indecent assault upon a person if he knowingly allowed the person to consort with, enter or continue in the employment of a prostitute or person of known immoral character.
Section 109—Compulsion of Marriage.
Whoever by duress causes a person to marry against his or her will, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour
Section 314- Slave-Dealing
(a) deals or trades in, buys, sells, barters, transfers, or takes any slave; or
(b) deals or trades in, buys, sells, barters, transfers, or takes any person in order that that person may be held or treated as a slave; or (c) places or receives any person in servitude as a pledge or security for debt, whether then due and owing or to be incurred or contingent, whether under the name of a pawn or by whatever other name that person may be called; or
(d) conveys any person, or induces any person to come, to Ghana in order that such person may be dealt or traded in, bought, sold, bartered, or become a slave, or be placed in servitude as a pledge or security for debt; or
(e) conveys or sends any person, or induces any person to go out of Ghana in order that that person may be dealt or traded in, bought, sold, bartered, transferred, or become a slave, or be placed in servitude as a pledge or security for debt; or
(f) enters into any contract or agreement with or without consideration for doing any of the acts or accomplishing any of the aforementioned purposes; or
(g) by any species of coercion or restraint otherwise than in accordance with the Labour Decree, compels or attempts to compel the service of any person,
shall be guilty of second degree felony.
(2) This section does not apply to any such coercion as may lawfully be exercised by virtue of contracts of service between free persons, or by virtue of the rights of parents and other rights, not being contrary to law, arising out of the family relations customarily used and observed in Ghana.
Section 314A—Prohibition of Customary Servitude.
(a) sends to or receives at any place any person; or
(b) participates in or is concerned in any ritual or customary activity in respect of any person with the purpose of subjecting that person to any form of ritual or customary servitude or any form of forced labour related to a customary ritual commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than three years.
(2) In this section "to be concerned in" means—
(a) to send to, take to, consent to the taking to or receive at any place any person for the performance of the customary ritual; or
(b) to enter into any agreement whether written or oral to subject any of the parties to the agreement or any other person to the performance of the customary ritual; or
(c) to be present at any activity connected with or related to the performance of the customary ritual.
Section 296—General Rules for Punishment.
(2) Where a crime, not being a crime mentioned in sub-section (5), is declared by any enactment to be a second degree felony and the punishment for the crime is not specified, a person convicted thereof shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
(4) Where a crime, not being a crime mentioned in sub-section (5), is declared by any enactment to be a misdemeanour and the punishment for the crime is not specified, a person convicted thereof shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
Sub-Part I – Rights of the child and parental duty
Article 12. Protection from exploitative labour
No person shall subject a child to exploitative labour as provided under section 87 of this Act.
Article 14. Right to refuse betrothal and marriage
(1) No person shall force a child –
(a) to be betrothed;
(b) to be the subject of a dowry transaction; or
(c) to be married.
(2) The minimum age of marriage of whatever kind shall be eighteen years.
Article 15. Penalty for contravention
Any person who contravenes a provision of this Sub-Part commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ¢5 million or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both
PART V – EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN
Sub-Part I – Child Labour
(1) No person shall engage a child in exploitative labour.
(2) Labour is exploitative of a child if it deprives the child of its health, education
The minimum age for admission of a child to employment shall be fifteen years.
(1) The minimum age for the engagement of a child in light work shall be
(2) Light work constitutes work which is not likely to be harmful to the health or development of the child and does not affect the child’s attendance at school or the capacity of the child to benefit from school work.
(1) The minimum age for the engagement of a person in hazardous work is eighteen years.
(2) Work is hazardous when it poses a danger to the health, safety or morals of a person.
(3) Hazardous work includes –
(a) going to sea;
(b) mining and quarrying;
(c) porterage of heavy loads;
(d) manufacturing industries where chemicals are produced or used;
(e) work in places where machines are used; and
(f) work in places such as bars, hotels and places of entertainment where a person may be exposed to immoral behaviour.
Section 1: Meaning of trafficking
(1) Human trafficking means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, trading or receipt of persons within and across national borders by
(a) the use of threats, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or exploitation of vulnerability, or
(b) Giving or receiving payments and benefits to achieve consent.
2) Exploitation shall include at the minimum, induced prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, salary or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
3) Placement for sale, bonded placement, temporary placement, placement as service where exploitation by someone else is the motivating factor shall also constitute trafficking.
4) Where children are trafficked, the consent of the child, parents or guardian of the child cannot be used as a defence in prosecution under this Act, regardless of whether or not there is evidence of abuse of power, fraud or deception on the part of the trafficker or whether the vulnerability of the child was taken advantage of.
Section 2: Prohibition of trafficking
(1) A person shall not traffic another person within the meaning of section 1 or act as an intermediary for the trafficking of a person. (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.
(3) For purposes of this section, an intermediary is someone who participates in or is concerned with any aspect of trafficking under this Act who may or may not be known to the family of the trafficked person.
(4) To be concerned with an aspect of trafficking in this Act means (a) to send to, take to, consent to the taking to or to receive at any place any person for the purposes of trafficking, or
(b) to enter into an agreement whether written or oral, to subject any party to the agreement or subject any other person to trafficking.
Provision of trafficked person prohibited
Section 3: Provision of a trafficked person prohibited
(1) A person who provides another person for purposes of trafficking commits an offence even where the person is a parent. (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years.
Section 4: Use of trafficked persons prohibited
A person who uses a trafficked person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years.
Section 42: Interpretation
In this Act unless the context otherwise requires
“bonded placement” includes placement by a trafficker of a person for exploitative purposes with a promise of subsequent payment to the trafficker for the placement of the trafficked person by the user of the trafficked person and the placement of a trafficked person to offset a debt already owed by the trafficker or another person;
“coercion” means a threat of serious injury to or physical restraint against a person, a scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act will result in serious injury to or physical restraint of a person;
“placement as service” means the placement of a person by a trafficker for exploitative purposes where the service of that person is not remunerated;
Trafficking in persons and use of services of trafficked persons
(1) A person or an organized criminal group shall not recruit, transport, transfer, harbour or receive a person for the purpose of exploitation by
(b) use of force or other forms of coercion;
(f) abuse of power
(g) trading in persons;
(h) taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person to further an act on trafficking in persons; or
(i) the giving or receiving of payments or benefits or gifts to obtain the consent of a person having control ober the person intended to be trafficked.
(2) A person who contravenes subregulation (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and nor more than twenty-five years.
(3) A person who aids or abets an activity of an organized criminal group which contravenes subregulation (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than twenty-five years.
(4) A person or an organised criminal group shall not facilitate the continued presence of a trafficked person in a receiving country in order to obtain a financial, material or other benefit.
(5) A person who contravenes subregulation (4) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction and not more than ten years, whether or not Ghana is the receiving country.
(6) A person who aids and abets in an activity of an organised criminal group which contravenes subregulation (4) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than twenty-five years.
(7) For the purposes of subregulation (4), “facilitate” includes the production, provision or procurement of false travel or identity documents in respect of the trafficked person or any other conduct that secures the presence of the trafficked person in unlawful custody.
(8) Where the trafficking results in the death or grievous bodily harm of a victim, the offender is liable on conviction to the penalty stipulated in Chapter 2 on the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29)
(9) A parent, guardian or any other person who has parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child shall not traffic or permit or facilitate the trafficking of the child.
(10) A person who contravenes subregulation (9) comits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than two thousand five hundred penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years or to both.
Article 3. Conduct of facilitating trafficking of persons
(1) A person shall not
a) Transport or facilitate the transport of another person for the purpose of that another person being the trafficked person;
b) Be in charge of a conveyance that facilitates the commission of an offence under the Act or these regulations;
c) Lease or sublet or allow a room, house, building or premises to be used for the purpose of harbouring a trafficked person;
d) Harbour, conceal, or provide a safe haven to a person who commits an offence under the Act or these Regulations;
e) Councel, procure, incite or solicit the commission of an offence under the Act or these Regulations;
f) Advertise, publish, print, broadcast, distribute or cause the advertisement, publication, printing, broadcast or distribution of information that suggests or alludes to trafficking by any means, including the use of the internet or other information technology;
g) Introduce another person to a marriage for the purpose of adquiring, buying, offering for sale or trading that person to be engaged in prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, trafficking in human parts, servitude or debt bondage in furtherance of human trafficking;
h) Offer or contract a marriage, real or simulated, for the purpose of adquiring buying, offering for sale or trading another person in order for that other person to be engaged in prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, trafficking in human parts, servitude or debt bondage in furtherance of human trafficking; or
i) Assist in the conduct of misrepresentation or fraud for the purpose of procuring or facilitating the adquisition of clearances and necessary exit documents from government agencies for the purpose of trafficking in persons.
(2) A person who contravenes subregulation (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to the same penalties as if the person has been convicted of the offence of trafficking.
Article 4. Use of services of trafficked person
(1) A person shall not
a) Seek to benefit, financially or otherwise, from the services of a trafficked person, or
b) Use or facilitate the usage of the services of a trafficked person by any other person
(2) A person who contravenes subregulation (1) commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more that ten years.
(3) The past sexual behaviour of a trafficked person is irrelevant and inadmissible for the purpose of proving that the trafficked person was engaged in other sexual behaviour or to prove the sexual predisposition of the trafficked person.
Article 8 Guiding principle for determination of trafficked persons
When deciding the question as to whether the person is a trafficked person, a person shall have regard to all the circumstances of the particular case, including any of the following guiding principles that may be relevant in a particular case:
(a) Whether the person is in an exploitative situation through one or more of the following means:
(2) Whether the movement of the person is restricted or confined through one or more of the following means:
(3) whether the person suffers from one or more of the following health conditions
(d) Whether the passport, identity document or other travel document of the person has been destroyed by or is in the possession of another persons;
(e) Whether the person is in possession of a fraudulent passport, identity document or other travel document;
(f) Whether evidence exists that the person has been forced to lie to the family or friends of the person about the person’s safety, welfare and whereabouts;
(g) Whether the person has been subjected to debt bondage;
(h) Whether the person has been forced to work whilst earning a small amount or no income; or
(i) Whether the person has been forced to do work that is different from that which was originally promised to that person.