Human Trafficking and Witchcraft: What are The Ties?
Superstitious beliefs can be used as an instrument of good or evil. But in the hands of human traffickers, you can probably guess what it’s being used for.
I don’t know about you, but here at STOP THE TRAFFIK, staff found themselves rather disturbed by recent news story narrating the witchcraft murder of 15 year old Kristy Bamu. If you haven’t’ read it, we won’t be the ones reporting the gruesome nature of the crime, but what we do want is to highlight how child abuse and witchcraft is an alarming phenomenon increasingly linked to human trafficking.
Perhaps you judge superstitious beliefs of black cats or cracked mirrors to be silly, but these thoughts are no joke for some– in fact because they are often fuelled by extreme religious convictions, they are sacred. It definitely is no joke to the children who were trafficked by ‘witch doctors’ in Uganda to serve in sacrificial ceremony – sold to those who believe that witchcraft can help them get rich fast. It also was not taken so light heartedly by the women whose hair and nail clippings were used for a voodoo ritual ceremony designed to bind them physically and spiritually to their trafficking situation. This happened in Nigeria where a human trafficking ring was found to be enslaving women for the commercial sex industry in Europe. Unfortunately, due to issues of immigration or unemployment, there is a concern that the number of incidents will rise because of the economic downturn in many African countries where these incidents are most prominent, as well as within African cultures in the UK.
We can’t deny that such incidents make us shiver when hearing about them. These real life stories are horribly dark and yet we cannot be oblivious to them. The Guardian recently published an article arguing that witchcraft is an increasingly common tool in controlling children and women who have been trafficked. It seems witchcraft rituals are used in the victim’s countries of origin to frighten them from pursuing help.
So sure, you can be indifferent to witchcraft beliefs – but remember – superstition and its intersection with faith and religion means a great deal more to people vulnerable to being trafficked around the world.