Sakawa is a Ghanaian slang for illicit activities that blend modern Internet scams with traditional African rituals.
Sakawa is a Hausa word that means "to bring money inside."
The rituals, which are mostly in the guise of sacrifices, are designed to spiritually manipulate victims in order for the scammer's scheme to succeed.
Sakawa was originally used to refer to particular online scams, but it has since been expanded to include all types of online frauds and scams that primarily target foreigners.
Internet scammers are easy to spot in Ghana. Young men have developed such a distinct identity that they have earned their own nickname. They are mostly seen in their tight jeans and prominent gold jewelry, cruising around a particular suburb of the capital in their unlicensed fast cars with loud music blasting, flaunting their ill-gotten gains for all to see.
According to research, Sakawa, which is popular among young men, had gotten out of hand–that it had taken on the weight of a national crisis.
Some young people describe their actions as a reaction to unjust foreign policies.
Not all of the young men who participate in Internet scamming are motivated by poverty or unemployment.
It's a mix of resentment toward their exclusion from the global economy, as well as peer pressure.
These Ghanaian con artists will pose as well-heeled lonely hearts, gradually convincing their unsuspecting victims that they are the man of their dreams. Their new "boyfriend" will try to con the targets out of every penny they have before long.
But the cost to their British victims is hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. Many victims are too afraid to come forward, so the true scope of the issue is likely to be much