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Slavery teaches trokosi about spiritual bondage, freedom in Christ

By January 7, 2011

Ghana (MNN) — Slavery is a rampant issue in Ghana.

Thousands of women and children throughout Ghana are held in bondage as trokosi, or wives of the gods, forced to submit to every whim of local priests. Trokosi suffer severe manual labor, sexual exploitation, and starvation under threat of becoming cursed or enduring corporal punishment.

For years now, Every Child Ministries has been responding to the vast need for abolitionists in Ghana. ECM has helped in the efforts to free thousands of women and children from slavery.

"Many times the women can't even put into words what it feels like for them to be free, to actually be able to live life," saya ECM's Hannah Howard.

The work cannot stop at freedom, however. Several obstacles stand in the way.

Many trokosi have been in bondage their entire lives and often don't know even basic skills to help them live on their own.

"A lot of times they don't know how to even handle money, or many of them don't know how to read or write," notes Howard. ECM helps them with basic and vocational skills so they can acquire a trade. Once they have a trade, they are often successful, especially after a lifetime of learning hard work.

Another significant hurdle for these women to overcome is the emotional effects a life of servitude has had on their souls. Howard, a counselor in the rehabilitation process for liberated trokosi, says women often have difficulty opening up to ECM staff.

"They haven't experienced much love in their lives," explains Howard. "For the most part, these women have experienced rejection, hurt, betrayal, and they haven't really experienced love at all.

"Building relationships is part of showing that we love them, that we care for them, and that their lives are important to us. Along the way, they start opening up as they see that we are genuine and we really do love and care about them."

As trust is built, hearts open up to the Gospel as well. Howard says despite the lives they've lived in bondage to idol shrines and priests, the trokosi are able to understand the Gospel better as a result of their difficult pasts.

"It's actually a wonderful way to describe the love of Christ. We are all bound by our sins, we are all dead, and we are all hopeless without Christ. They have experienced that in their physical lives."

Many trokosi have been changed by the power of the Gospel as a result of ECM's ministry, but perhaps none more radically than the "Old Woman" who came to faith during Thanksgiving 2010. Listen to a three-minute clip of Howard telling the amazing transformation tale here.

ECM is helping to solve the second-leading crime in the world as they pull people out of human trafficking and into the light of freedom. Physical and spiritual bondage released, these women are able to live as God intended and multiply the kingdom with their testimonies.

You can be the next one to help free a trokosi slave. Click here to learn more.

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