Magazine article New African

Africa/UK: In the Name of God; on the Day of the African Child (16 June), a Confidential Report Leaked from London's Metropolitan Police Warned That African Children Were Being Smuggled into the UK for Use in Human Sacrifice and as Domestic Slaves. Martha Kabwe Reports from London

Magazine article New African

Africa/UK: In the Name of God; on the Day of the African Child (16 June), a Confidential Report Leaked from London's Metropolitan Police Warned That African Children Were Being Smuggled into the UK for Use in Human Sacrifice and as Domestic Slaves. Martha Kabwe Reports from London

Article excerpt

For many, the beliefs and traditions associated with religion run deep and resolute. Yet in some cases faith can have a blinding effect and this in turn can lead to abuse and torture, as a recently-concluded legal case in London has highlighted.

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The conviction of an Angolan woman, her brother and another relative has brought this issue to the fore in a case that saw a young child on the receiving end of a succession of horrific ill-treatment meted out by the trio. The three were found guilty on child abuse charges after they believed the 10-year-old girl in the aunt's care was possessed by "evil spirits". Their response was to literally "beat the devil" out of the young child in an effort to free her of the demons which they were convinced had taken her over. Now, a report by London's Metropolitan Police authority suggests that African children are being illegally trafficked to Britain to be used in sacrificial ceremonies and as domestic slaves.

This latest case of child abuse related to religious beliefs follows the abuse and subsequent death in February 2000 of Victoria Climbie from Cote d'Ivoire and the discovery in September 2001 of a young black boy's torso in the River Thames. The boy was believed by police to have originally hailed from Nigeria and died as a result of a ritual killing.

Commissioned by the Metropolitan Police, the leaked report highlights the existence of apparent faith-crimes in the UK, and sheds light on certain rituals being conducted at churches in the British capital. These churches are attended by predominantly African congregations.

The report states that people approach such churches out of desperation to cast spells for them. It claims that "for spells to be powerful, it requires a sacrifice of a male child unblemished by circumcision", and that children who were brought into the country for such reasons could very well be in "serious and possible life-threatening situations".

The case of the young Angolan girl, whose parents are believed to be dead, has drawn attention to the fact that people's differing cultural and religious beliefs do not remain in their native countries when they move overseas. …

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