Benin: Voodo Children
The tiny, impoverished West African state of Benin is the home of Voodoo - the ancient animist belief that was spread by slaves to Haiti and New Orleans. It is the only country in the world that recognises Voodoo as a state religion, but reporter Evan Williams and producer James Brabazon reveal that its influence is less than benign.
Priests select two-year-old children to be initiated into secret religious rites and expensive initiation ceremonies; many are forced into "Voodoo convents", and their parents have to pay if they are ever to see their children again. In some instances, the cost of Voodoo ceremonies means that parents have to sell their children into bonded labour. "What do you want me to do?" asks a priest. "Stop Voodoo? That's impossible."
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