The United States is one of Ghana’s primary trading partners and many U.S. businesses have market share in the West African country. The U.S. has maintained a trade agreement with Ghana since the year 2000, and has good political and business relationships with the country. However, there is a startling amount of violence and abuse occurring with its society. Despite our country’s close financial ties with Ghana, the population is suffering, without any attention or action being taken by the U.S. population. According to the Department of State, “violence against women and children; female genital mutilation…; societal discrimination against women, trafficking in women and children; and child labor, including forced child labor” are major issues in Ghana’s society. Reports indicate that Ghana is a source, hub, and destination for trafficking of women and children for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Most of the destitute children bought and sold are either boys forced to work arduous hours in fishing communities or girls used as domestic servants. Women are bought and sold while being promised education and steady work, but upon arrival in foreign locations, they are forced into prostitution. Not only are women and children being bought and sold, those that stay in Ghana are being abused at an alarming rate. A recent study in Ghana on violence revealed that one in three women has been beaten, slapped or physically punished by a current or a previous partner. The government is still trying to ratify domestic violence policy that would make it easier to actually prosecute offenders. Despite open protest from women’s advocacy groups, proposed legislation ideas have not been turned into law. Along with abuse, women face considerable amounts of discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. Women with skills and training are minimally discriminated against but, according to State Department findings, “Women, especially in rural areas, remained subject to burdensome labor conditions and traditional male dominance.” Ghana appears to be doing little to protect its women and children, and the United States Government, along with many domestic corporations continue to conduct ongoing business there without rebuke or censure.
Marking the most significant trade contract in the Western Hemisphere in over a decade, the U.S. and Columbia signed a free trade agreement in February 2006. Columbia’s economy is fueled by a plethora of natural resources and a highly educated population. Columbia is the second largest agricultural market in Latin America, and the United States has significant economic ties with Colombia. The South American country is currently the 31st largest goods trading partner with the U.S., with $14.3 billion in total goods traded during 2005. The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Colombia was $3.4 billion in 2005, a 20.7% increase from 2004. Unfortunately, our trading partner commits vast amounts of unchecked human rights violations that hurt the Columbian communities and weaken the society. Child abuse, sexual exploitation of women and children, and active recruiting of children into paramilitary groups are common occurrences in Columbia....