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

2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
 
2/27/2015 Houston Is Finally Testing a Backlog of Thirty-Year-Old Rape Kits - The city of Houston, Texas has finally begun testing decades-old rape kits - and in just one week, those have led to hundreds of leads. Houston is one of the first of the major cities nation-wide to clear their backlog of over 6,000 untested rape kit s- some of which were more than thirty years old. . . .
 
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .