Ghana (MNN) — Many people believe slavery has been outlawed worldwide. While it has, in reality it still exists.
President and CEO of IN Network USA Rody Rodeheaver says,
"Today there are 27 million people enslaved around the world. This is
various kinds of slavery — sex slaves, it's chattel slavery, it's forced labor
and debt bondage."
Rodeheaver says in the Volta region of Ghana, where many
slaves were loaded on a ship and sent to the Americas, Trokosi practice is
still taking place. "Where Young virgin girls, some as young as five, six
and seven years old, are taken as slaves by fetish priests for the payment of
the sins of other people," says Rodeheaver.
As these girls reach puberty, they're raped and forced to
live in horrible conditions. IN Network has been trying to negotiate their
release. While this type of slavery is outlawed, not much is being done about
it. "Because this is so deeply rooted in the traditional African religion
and voodoo that law enforcement officials in these areas are themselves afraid
of the death curse and so they have been very reluctant and have not enforced
the law at all."
As these girls are freed, IN Network provides basic life
skills, trauma counseling, micro enterprise grants and more to help them start
a new life. It's time consuming, but very effective, says Rodeheaver.
"Over 90-percent of the women who are freed from this slavery become
Christians. It's easy to understand why because they understand what it means
to have a redeemer. They understand what it means when we share with them that
Christ has paid for their sins.
Freeing these women
and their children hasn't been easy. "Well, right now, what we're faced
with is a number of these shines and fetish priests have come together to
resist this liberation of these girls. So, it's been very hard."
Rodeheaver is praying that these priests to relinquish these
girls. As it happens IN Network is building schools, water wells, sanitation
and other infrastructure improvements which will not only help the girls, but
will help villages where these freed slaves begin their new lives.