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Trokosi: How The Sins Of Another Can Affect One’s Mental State

Credit: Emma Cragg sourced: Flickr Creative Commons

Modern slavery is still prominent in the world we live in today. However, it was unforeseen that Modern Ritual Slavery will still be in motion. “Trokosi” is known to be practised in West Africa especially in places like Ghana and Togo within the Ewe tribe. 

Who would have ever imagined that young virgin girls would be used as trophies or medals to redeem the sins of another? Once a virgin girl is given to a priest, she becomes his property. She is made to carry out domestic chores like cooking and farming and to top it up, she is then demanded to serve the priest her body. 

Handcuffed Girls Qiqi Lourdie December 05, 20104
Photo credit: Steven Depolo
from Flickr Creative Commons

These young girls are taken away from their families because a member of their family did something wrong. One of the women who was the first to be taken away from her family mentioned that she was seven when she was taken away from her family. This was done simply because someone in her family stole a piece of earring. For this singular act of thievery, she had to become a sex slave, a domestic slave and a child slave for someone who lied. This is done with the belief that if she is used as an atonement, death will not befall this family. 

Most of the time, we hear and read how practices like sexual harassment and forced labour are carried out or discovered. The Circular has decided to shed light on the mental effects of victims who have experienced this ordeal. Mental health is a big issue and in this case not only does this practice affect the mental state of the victim but they are also stigmatised and rejected by society. They feel the denial, social isolation and condemnation which eventually leads to them feeling ashamed and losing their self-worth. 

Afar Tribe Girl With Hand On Mouth, Assayta, Ethiopia
Photo credit: Eric Lafforgue from Flickr Creative Commons.

These girls are threatened with the claim that they cannot escape. When these young girls are forced into this predicament, they immediately become disturbed psychologically and are faced with the fear of what fate has in store for them the next day. 

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