Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cursing sex traffickers in Nigeria

In some religious traditions, curses are performative, i.e. performing a curse is thought to have consequences for those cursed.  In Nigeria, a traditional leader is applying this to public policy.

The NY Times has the story:
A Voodoo Curse on Human Traffickers

"On March 9, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, in southern Nigeria, put a voodoo curse on anyone who abets illegal migration within his domain. At the same time, he revoked the curses that leave victims of trafficking afraid that their relatives will die if they go to the police or fail to pay off their debt.

"Before being smuggled into Europe, women and girls in the area, which falls in present-day Edo State, are made to sign a contract with the traffickers who finance their journey, promising to pay them thousands of dollars. The agreement is sealed with a voodoo, or juju, ritual, conducted by a spiritual priest, known here as a native doctor.
"Edo is not one of Nigeria’s poorest states. But in the early 1980s women there started traveling to Italy to trade in gold and beads, and “saw a thriving market in prostitution,” said Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, a professor at the University of Benin and a researcher for the International Organization for Migration. She believes this “founders factor” is the main reason Edo has become such a center of human trafficking."

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