In much of the developing world, migration is part and parcel of people’s lives (see for example: McDowell /De Haan 1997: 3). This is also the case in Ghana where people move for numerous reasons. Yet, work is probably the main reason why people migrate. As the case elsewhere in the developing world, also in Ghana ‘labour migration is usually by young able-bodied people’ (De Haan 2006: 4). This includes young men and young women, and also young people below the age of 18 who according to international and Ghanaian regulations are considered ‘children’. Migrants younger than 18 are sometimes referred to as ‘child migrants’, and in other instances considered victims of ‘child trafficking’.2 In an urban context occasionally these young migrants may also be lumped under the label ‘streetchildren’. Whatever the term used, children and youth migrating without their parents is an issue of considerable current concern, attracting much attention from government, international and local NGOs and in the media. This paper presents a brief overview of the issue of young migrants in urban Ghana. It focuses particularly on a specific group of migrants: young female head porters.

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ISS Staff Group 4: Rural Development, Environment and Population
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Huijsmans, R. (2012). Background paper on Young Migrants in Urban Ghana, focusing particularly on young female head porters (kayayei). ISS Staff Group 4: Rural Development, Environment and Population. Retrieved from