ADIDOME, GHANA, 6th December 2012; A Trokosi priest performs a ritual libation with alcohol at a former Trokosi shrine.
Wives of the Gods: The Trokosi Practice Trokosi is a traditional practice of sexual servitude in parts of Ghana, Togo and Benin. Girls as young as six are offered to a fetish shrine priest as a way of appeasing the gods for a relative's transgression. The tradition, which has been part of the Ewe culture for centuries, requires a girl to spend the rest of her life as a "wife of the gods". Brigitte was put in a Trokosi shrine at the age of 7 by her uncle because he was sick. After 9 months in the shrine she was rescued by an American artist who saw her on a CBS film news report on the practice. Today, trokosi priests are the most revered figures in many rural areas. Families believe that if they refuse to give a girl to a fetish shrine, it will bring bad luck to the community, ranging from poverty, disease and death. The priests justify the practice by saying that Trokosi are like priestesses who copulate with the gods through their earthly servants. In 1998, a law was passed in Ghana criminalising trokosi as a form of slavery. A year later, 1,800 women and girls were liberated by a non-governmental organisation called International Needs Ghana (ING) ING believes there are between 4,000 – 6,000 5,000 females held in sexual servitude in Ghana's Trokosi shrines. Thousands more are believed to be in shrines in Togo and Benin. Despite legislation having been past criminalising the Trokosi practice in Ghana, no priest has ever been prosecuted.
Mike Goldwater / Alamy
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Date Created: 06 Dec 2012
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