Ghana (MNN) — Virgin girls as young as eight years old are turned over by their families to priests in Ghana.
Their families believe in sacrificing a virgin daughter to shrine slavery, they can glean forgiveness from idol gods for their sins.
Priests demand sex and labor from enslaved girls, and deny them food, education, and basic health needs. The girls are beaten if they try to escape.
Various estimates guess there are around 5,000 girls and women in shrine slavery in Ghana. This type of slavery is called trokosi.
A team of four American women are currently in Ghana with Every Child Ministries (ECM) developing a new rehab center for women freed from shrine slavery.
Lorella Rouster with ECM is also in Ghana with the team of women. She says, “We’ve been counseling and teaching them in their homes for several years…. They’re like in spiritual, social, psychological bondage to the idols they’ve been serving. All of them have been officially freed, but now we’re working on walking out every day the reality of what it means to be freed because psychological bonds are often loosened very slowly.”
Rouster explains their goals: “One is to help the women with vocational training so they can make a more adequate living for themselves and their families. Then also to share Christ, share the Gospel with them and help them become disciples of Jesus.”
The American team of women has enjoyed meeting the Ghanaian women and fellowshipping with them. In turn, the formerly enslaved women have been encouraged meeting other women who are praying for them.
The bonds formed are impacting both groups of women. “This morning one of our members washed the feet of these women as a symbol of servant hood. And she was thrilled to see that they had learned during the week to trust her enough to allow her to do that,” says Rouster.
For vocational training, ECM has done various projects with the women like making jewelry, weaving, and sewing. They’re still experimenting with different ideas.
“That helps really build a sense that they can do something worthwhile; they can create something that’s beautiful. And along with the Gospel and along with the teachings of the Bible I think that’s a very strong combination.”
The first week they worked with 6 women from eastern Ghana. This week they will be working with 6-8 women.
ECM will continue sending teams from time to time, but the ministry will largely continue to be carried out by national Christians. The Ghanaian missionary partners need support. Click here to give to a missionary in Ghana through ECM.
Please pray for the team and this project reaching former trokosi slaves. Pray for the Holy Spirit to touch their hearts.