'All that glitters is not gold" An exploratory study of 'trapped migrants' in Ghana

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University of Ghana


Globalization has led to increased migration, resulting in migrants trapped in places which are not their home countries. These migrants termed 'trapped migrants ' (a category of migrants who have travelled outside their place of origin to their place of destination in hopes of returning home after accomplishing the purpose of travel but have been rendered victims to scams, hence cannot return to their place of origin) have been unexplored in the migration literature as the focus has been on migrants who move either voluntarily or involuntarily. The research paper examines the phenomena of 'trapped migrants' in search of gold in Ghana. It identifies their characteristics, explores ways in which they are trapped by gold scams, the role that Social Networks and Information Communications Technologies (ICT) played and also highlights some Institutional responses and Policy Implications of 'trapped migrants' in Ghana. Qualitative research approach using primary and secondary data were used. Findings reveal that 'trapped migrants' in Ghana were trapped by gold scams, fake documentation and the legal system. Characteristics from the study indicate there were more males than females, majority were middle aged from diverse nationalities, and highly educated. Social networks and I.C.T. played major roles in the lives of' trapped migrants' at multiple levels. This paper concludes by encouraging researchers to undertake studies on 'trapped migrants ' for proper conceptualization and also to bridge the knowledge gap.


School of social sciences colloquium


knowledge gap, Social Networks, Information Communications Technologies (ICT), Globalization