“The traffickers or witch-doctors take your hair and cut your arms, legs, heads and genitals and collect the blood. They say if you speak out, I can kill you.” Another victim feared for her life, saying the “witch-doctor told me that one day he would need my head.Â “Sometimes I would wake up and he would be standing over me with a knife, every night I was terrified that he would do it.”
Over the last four years, at least 400 African children have been abducted and trafficked to the UK and rescued by the British authorities, according to figures obtained by the BBC. It is unclear how they are smuggled into the country but a sinister picture is emerging of why.
Whether it is through leaflets handed out in High Streets or small ads in local newspapers, witch-doctors and traditional African spiritual healers are becoming ever more prominent in Britain.
The work many of them do is harmless enough, but there is evidence that some are involved in the abuse of children who have been abducted from their families in Africa, and trafficked to the UK.
According to Christine Beddoe, director of the anti-trafficking charity Ecpat UK, a cultural belief in the power of human blood in so-called juju rituals is playing a part in the demand for African children.
“Our experience tells us that traffickers can be anybody. They can be people with power, people with money or people involved in witchcraft,” she explains.
“Trafficking can involve witch-doctors and other types of professionals in the community who are using those practices.”
Read the full article, Trafficked for JuJu (BBC)