According to the trokosi tradition practiced in southeastern Ghana, virgin girls are given to village priests as a way of appeasing the gods for crimes committed by family members. The word trokosi in the Ewe language means “slaves of the gods.” Once given to the priest, a girl becomes his property and is made to carry out domestic chores such as cooking and washing, as well as farming and fetching water. After the onset of menstruation, the bondage also involves sexual servitude.

Coercion – Threats of harm to the victim or victim’s family; threats to shame the victim by revealing the commercial sex to his or her family and others in the community; verbal, psychological and emotional abuse; nightly quotas; confiscation of birth certificates and other identification documents; forced dependency on the pimp or controller; rumors of or witnessed violence at hands of traffickers; cycle of rewards and punishments; convincing the victim that police/service providers will only see the victim as a “prostitute” and will arrest and not assist the victim; threats of deportation if victim is a foreign national. 

Police report that it is currently so high that it’s difficult to convict. Evidentiary standards need to change. Law enforcement respondents suggested that allowing videotapes or wiretaps to be entered into evidence would help their cases. Others advocated allowing police officers to serve as complainants. Currently, prosecution of traffickers depends on testimony from victim witnesses. Interviewees emphasized that victims must know that it is safe and worthwhile for them to testify. If victims believe traffickers will only receive a light penalty, they will not risk testifying for fear of retaliation from the traffickers or his criminal associates.