Ghana Child Slavery Essay Example
It is believed that Slavery is over and does not exist anymore in the world; but unfortunately, some part of Africa, still practice slavery. Children in African countries such as Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Nigeria are at mostly the victims of the trokosi system. In Ghana, trokosi is practiced among the Ewes [people leaving in the southern part of Ghana]. “Trokosi system is [basically] based on religious beliefs” (Discrimination Against Women and children 91). This practice involves trading children for hard labor. Girls [women] are mostly traded for hard labor as compared to the rate at which boys are traded. Abayie boldly stated in his work that “the crux of the matter is that the victims are women and children, the most vulnerable members of society” (Discrimination Against Women and children 91). Females actually play important roles in the society especially in terms of development. Ghanaians are against this religious practice and are calling for an abolishment of the practice. Trokosi comes from two words in the ewe dialect:
Tro' means god and 'Kosi' can be translated as virgin, slave or wife. Reports indicate that there are at least 4,000 girls and women bound to various shrines in the Trokosi system in Ghana. Additionally, there are an estimated 16,000 children of the slaves. In some places more than 2,000 girls and women are enslaved to a single shrine. (q. in Bilyeu 93).
Because trokosi is a traditional and a religious belief system, it is performed in the shrine; and it is rooted in a god. “To the Ewes, the god [troxovi] is the god of transformation. The process of transformation usually connotes that which is good for the people. The people believe that the deity, troxovi, is one of the messengers of the Creator, God (mawu)”. (African Women and Children: Crisis and Response 92). The gods are believed to satisfy the people’s need, guide, and protect them. “To the practitioners of this religion, the deity is a source of vitality and strength.” (q. in Bilyeu 93). This religious belief [trokosi], has become a [big] challenge for Ghanaians [especially, the ewes] till date and they [ewes] are still looking for ways and means to eliminate the practice. But, do we really know the reasons behind the practice; and how long does the victims serve in the shrine? How has it impacted in the lives of the victims? Does the laws of Ghana approves on the practice?
The people of the ewe land are [much] more rooted in traditional aspects of culture than any other tribe in Ghana. I am an Ewe myself and I see the reason behind this religious act or practice as ridiculous; although it is believed that it is the best way to please the gods of the land. Trokosi system among the ewes is mainly for punishing wrong doers; but the punishment is done indirectly. “The term trokosi refers to a traditional practice of ritual bondage of virgin girls where the victims are committed to fetish shrine of troxovi [god] as reparation the sins of their relatives”. (A Critical Look at the System of Trokosi in Ghana 82). In this situation, a girl child who had committed no crime is to serve as a slave to the gods in the Shrine. These girls are mostly between the ages of 3 and above. It is believed if a family sacrifices a
Virgin girl to the gods as a slave, poverty, sickness, and any other curses will be eliminated from the family. Most victims of this belief do not even know the reason they are in the shrine serving as slaves; because the family members assumes the victim is a child and shouldn’t know the truth at that age. Some crimes that are punishable by the gods includes:” stealing, ungratefulness, adultery, and rape”.(ghanaweb.com). For example:
Akpabli was sent to the shrine at the age of 3 because the priest declared the gods were angry that her relatives did not thank the shrine properly for helping them find a missing fishing boat. (q.in talkpage.com).