Hugs open the hearts of hurting women.

By May 19, 2004

Ghana (MNN)–Fetish slavery in Ghana, West Africa continues today, even though it was outlawed in 1998.

However, the priests were feared for their occultic powers, and the laws were not enforced because many thought the curse of a priest was deadly.

So, inhumane conditions persisted for the thousands of young women and girls forced into substandard living. The girls are sold into bondage to atone for some kind of offense by a family member.

The priests they serve frequently physically and sexually abuse the girls, and give little regard to the children they father.

Every Child Ministries’ Lorella Rouster explains they are dedicated to freeing such women in Ghana, West Africa. Many of them hold secrets they are afraid to share, too humiliated to give them voice.

But, Rouster says their counselor, known as ‘Bible woman’, discovered a little hug goes a long way. “That was saying to them, ‘You like us; we are real people, we are worthwhile. We have worth in God’s sight.’ So, it really has been a great door opener, just a little thing like a hug.”
ECM works in partnership with Ghanaian national efforts to end slavery in as many places as possible, and help those freed to rebuild their lives. “Our hope for the women is that they come to know the Lord, and that they allow Him to heal the hurts and the wounds that have been inflicted on them.”

After liberation, other missions offer vocational training to the girls. Options include dressmaking, tie-dying and batik, weaving of traditional kente cloth, hairdressing, soap making, baking, and catering.

The training is offered free of charge to former fetish slaves, and basic materials for getting started in their own small business are supplied on graduation, through the generosity of partners who support the work.

Every Child Ministries helps the areas that have freed their slaves to develop Christian education programs so that those freed have opportunity to learn the teaching of the Scriptures.

ECM’s Teachers’ Resource Library loans a wide variety of educational materials to churches, schools, and individual Christians in the heart of the slave belt of Ghana. Their specialized trainers help develop Bible teaching programs throughout the region.

However, Rouster says several team members serving with Every Child Ministries are presently undersupported. Most of them serve at support levels about $100 per month, but shares of even $10 per month are greatly appreciated. She says such help ‘…is a way people can send THEIR hugs to those who have suffered so much.’

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