Deadly exorcisms and sacrifices: Real or rumor?
A confidential report from London's Metropolitan Police leaked to BBC Radio 4's Today program (audio) claims children are being trafficked into Britain as religious sacrifices.
"[P]eople who are desperate will seek out witchcraft experts to cast spells for them," says the report, a product of a ten-month investigation. "For a spell to be powerful it required a sacrifice involving a male child unblemished by circumcision. Boy children are being trafficked into the UK for this purpose. Specific details were not forthcoming as the belief was that they would be 'dead meat' if we tell you any more."
The report also alleges that children are being trafficked into the country for sexual purposes, particularly catering to African men who believe that sex with a child will cure them of HIV or AIDS.
The report was particularly critical of immigrants' attitudes toward demonic possessionno surprise since British headlines have recently focused on the torture of an 8-year-old girl her family had called a witch. In 2000, another 8-year-old, Victoria Climbie, died after violent and cruel exorcism rituals.
Preachers have created a "lucrative business" in exorcism, the report says. "A number of pastors maintain that God speaks to them and lets them know when someone is possessed They would not accept that they played a major role in inciting such violence."
Perdeep Gill, one of the authors of the report, told The Times of London that pastors declare problems "from bedwetting to rebellion" as evidence of possession. "Most said the best solution was prayer and fasting. But they know the implications for the child. The way of dealing with it in Africa is through beating ...1
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