Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-28-99

Enslavement of Girls Debated in Ghana

The practice of Trokosi -- the enslavement of young girls to priests -- has sparked a national debate in Ghana. Trokosi (meaning "wife of the Gods") is the custom of sending young women and girls to be cared for by priests in order to protect the family from evil, to apologize for sins committed by a male family member, or to give thanks to the Gods for blessings received.

Human rights activists are calling Trokosi "one of the country's most serious human rights problems." It is estimated that currently, almost 4,000 females are enslaved by priests in 51 shrines throughout Ghana. One activist, Vincent Azumah, commented that "Even though there are other human rights abuses here, this is one that has enslaved innocent people in large numbers. It has been going on for ages, and many women have died in the system, knowing nothing but the shrine life."

Activists argue that the women are subjected to sexual servitude, beaten, forbidden from attending school, and are seldom allowed to keep the money they earn from charcoal production and trading. Essentially, they become concubines of the priests.

Supporters of Trokosi claim that women who are part of the shrine life are heroes and role models in their families. They dispute the rumors that the women are beaten or raped, arguing that this is just one more way to attack traditional African customs and religion.

However, human rights advocate and lawyer, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, said,"It's slavery, pure and simple. It violates every fundamental right. It's a step backwards for women."

Media Resources: Los Angeles Times - June 24, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

7/29/2014 Extensive Female Genital Mutilation Study To Be Conducted in the US - The Obama administration plans to conduct a large study on female genital mutilation (FGM) to try to assess how many girls and women in the US are at risk, and how many have already experienced, FGM. According to experts, FGM tends to take place during summer break when parents take their daughter outside of the country for the practice. Jaha Dukureh, a 24-year-old woman who grew up in Gambia, experienced FGM there, and then child marriage in the US, started a petition that gained more than 220,000 supporters. . . .
 
7/29/2014 Three Anti-Abortion Extremists Sentenced In Mississippi - Last night, three of four anti-abortion extremists were found guilty by a Jackson, Miss. . . .
 
7/29/2014 Women Just Won Big In Mississippi - Feminist Majority Foundation leaders are elated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a preliminary injunction against a Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider) law that would have closed the only abortion clinic in the state. . . .