Thousands of women across West Africa have been enslaved by a centuries old practice called “trokosi”. Girls are forced to live and work with priests in religious shrines, for the rest of their lives, to “pay” for the sins of family members. Although the practice has officially been banned in Ghana, it’s still happening there and in other parts of West Africa but on a smaller scale.
Twenty years after she was freed from this practice, Brigitte Sossou Perenyi goes on a journey to understand what trokosi really is and why her family gave her away.
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BBC News Africa Trokosi is not an African practice it is a tribal thing. The Ewes, in the Volta Region of Ghana, Togo, and Benin are the ones who practiced this. I got to know about this as refugee in Ghana, in 1990. I had gone with a friend to Kpandu in Ghana, when I found myself listening to stories of this. Like this story a lot of poverty stricken parents, fell victim to family members, who claimed they were taking their children to educate them in the city. Unfortunately these parents are trusting and grateful that someone cares enough to help. The problem is with the Governments where this is happening. These areas are not policed enough to put an end to this horrific practice.
I’m old now and I still wonder: why I have never in my long life heard of a religious man who says something like, “God spoke to me and told me I must free a trakosi girl from slavery and send her home.” Or, “God told me I should replace a trakosi slave for a year, while she goes to school.” Somehow, old religious men are always told by their God to benefit themselves.
This is a beautiful woman and a deeply meaningful story. Christiana struck me again and again as very like Mma Ramotswe as played by Jill Scott in The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency of Botswana.
I wonder if there’s any kind of punishment for men in Africa’s different beliefs? This is excuses to (most of all) sexually abuse young children in my eyes. The “belief system” takes away the taboo in doing that somehow. Horrible, extremely horrible! Does similar things exist for men??? I really want to know, thank you? God bless you all ❤️❤️❤️
Can’t stop crying! Heartbreaking! I used to have this thoughts of African families and the villages,that they were all so close and loving. I know now that I’ve been naive, there’s a lot of cruelty and evilness in Africa, like in all countries I guess and the thought I had about the close bounds in African families, I’ve been wrong... I mixed them up with isolated tribes (bad things happen in those too I suppose but not at this rate) that I’ve seen on YouTube, TV and been reading about. I never saw the shadows until recent days... And some of the things I’ve seen is so absurd and unimaginable, like this one. To live as a slave for the rest of your life!!!! Because of someone else’s “crimes” or wishes!!! I can’t believe it!! 😨🤭 A real Mother/ Father dies for their children. A parent give their children away for egoism, not a mother or a father. I’m soooo sorry for what you’ve been through and for all who are “living”, in the devastating conditions you did, as we speak... So incredibly sorry but happy that you made it although with the huge price you had to pay for someone else. It’s a pleasure to see you reunited with your family and also very sad, what was taken from you, it can’t be given back... your childhood, your rights... I hope you’ll have a happy life and I’ll pray for you and all the people (like that 14-year young poor little girl, tragic!!) who are suffering in “The shrines”... God bless you and love to you all ❤️❤️❤️
What about the peadophilia and abortion of innocent babies happening in America? America has it's own issues and is not perfect. Africa has a lot of positive things. You need to come here and see that most of us have better quality of life than some of you in the so called land of the free.
You should have brought charges against both your parents and your uncle and everyone running the shrine. Until this is done nothing will change. You were lucky and we're rescued. You should have visited your family with a court messenger serving them court papers for the law suit. (Spitting on your father would make more sense than hugging him but suing and winning will bring much worse luck to the family than throwing a child to the wolves and therefore prove trokosi an evil practise) Good Luck to you and your future life and please turn your back on your family and Don't Look Back. They are selfish and care nothing about anyone but themselves. You deserve so much more.
I thought that maybe they do this to make the sin committee feel as horrible as they can because their sins are being “transferred” to an innocent person in their family but now I don’t think they even care,,,,
Tradition of blind people. ....black nation will always remain backwarded....is only GOD through our Jesus Christ forgive since. ..not a hungry and dead gods and those that worship it can forgive since.
Even tho I'm a girl Y'all on the comments are being sexist YALL TALKING BOUT men are the worst thing but ALL people are fucking terrible people are the worst thing to happen to earth POINT BLANK PERIOD
Millions of people in Africa and the rest of the world caught between attachment to a prehistoric culture and trying to exist in a modern world. We all have a strong desire to know who we are and where we come from, but ultimately our job is to prepare the next generation for the future.
Millions of whites and other races(Asians,)live in Africa and have got relatives abroad . Do you want to tell me they don't have anything good to say about Africa to y'all racists? I mean they live here comfortably, that's why I believe Racists are just ignorant
I just wish that 14 years girl with blue cloth can also be freed. as a man I broke into tears when they ask her if she knows why she's there and if she's happy. you could feel the pain in her voice. people doing this things are heartless. I wonder who came up with this culture. Sis Man! 😒😒
So many men are evil. They don’t see women as people, never have. Why do women have always to suffer and pay for men’s sins. Raped women being blamed, being forced to carry, give birth to, and raise their rapists child. Can you get more evil.
I honestly doubt that her parents had no idea this happened. This is because they did not fall out with that "uncle" after they got to know where he had dumped their daughter. I am sure this trokosi system is not alien to their family and this is why the father responds with ambivalence. This is also why the Mum responded with "thank you" after that tough conversation- she knew she had sins to be forgiven. If they intended to send a child away for an education, they would have sent the oldest to that adulterous uncle. They would have told their daughter that she was traveling to get an education which would have been good news even for the girl instead of putting her on a bike and saying nothing. They would have packed a few clothes and some gifts for her uncle since he was doing them a huge favor by paying her school fees. The truth is that now, she has a desirable passport, pocket, life and links that would benefit the family immensely and despite their wickedness to her, they want whatever they can get for free. That's just how I see it. I hope she gets the tools to heal on her own. Deepening ties with her birth family will only open doors for more another kind of trokosi- a financially and emotionally manipulative one from the same father who still rules the family with an iron grip and valued his randy brother above his own child. I hope she doesn't fall victim to this dangerous family once again.
The father just pissed me off there when he said that he asked the uncle and he said he sent her on an errand, what is that? How can you give your child to someone and don't even go there to visit your own flesh and blood? No nooooooo
fake traditions and other innocent people have to pay for sins of others...why not punish the one that commits the offence.... seems only girls are the victim of this bullshit and was she raped on a daily schedule by her new slave master? ah they speak about this, fucking pedophiles
The Father is FOS! "Whatever happened has happened? You got to be kidding me. I would never ever wanna see him again. Thank God she was adopted and rescued and received a better life. What the devil meant for evil, God turned it around in her favor.
I haven't seen my son in months and I love him dearly. I think of him everyday. I don't want him to grow up thinking I don't care about him. I miss him and do everything with him in mind as if he were still Living with me. Everyday I hope to see you son. Everyday.
This is just heartbreaking, the strength and absolutely beauty of that incredible woman is just inspiring. I wish everyone who is blessed with freedom would realise how truly blessed we are to be free from this. This woman is just amazing and so stunningly beautiful and strong. I hope there is a way in which me and other people in the UK can help fight this, we all must educate ourselves on things happening around the world and do things to help if we can, we are blessed with freedom and education in this country and we must utilise this to help others 💔
Thank god for this amazing lady and her strength and radiating love 💗
Why the hell are there so many comments like ''This is so typical of men to take advantage of women and girls just like it happens everywhere in the world''/''Men are evil rapists''? Traditions like this are leftovers from earlier times that represent neither the present nor the average man. Stop with your man-hating comments ffs
This documentary made me cry like a child. I am so saddened by the superstitions held by my fellow Africans, enemies of their own selfs. When you see an African running from their country, going through the sea and the dark dessert not for a second fearing for their life, hoping it would somehow be better than the one they would live in Africa... I just hope you try to understand why. I pray God gives Chritina the strength to heal properly, because that look and those tears rolling down her cheeks, tell an untold painful story.
Africans enslave themselves?
I don't understand why the men are laughing when she first returned home.
I can't believe her father's reaction!!!
I hope who ever did this to her is on their death bed. Dying from guilt!!!
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