A Tribute to Womanhood
Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.
...Ritual servitude is still practiced in Ghana where traditional religious shrines take young girls in payment for services, or in religious atonement for alleged misdeeds of a family member. Trokosi which means slaves or wives of the gods, is practiced by a small tribe called Ewe in the Volta region. For centuries, girls as young as two have been given to priests in Ghana for life in payment for the crimes and today we find children as young as 6 years old are forced to work at hazardous labor in the fishing industry and on cocoa farms. After the onset of menstruation, the bondage also include sexual servitude and young girls are forced to work in houses of prostitution. It is common that a Trokosi has 10 to 15 children.
Once given to the priest, a girl becomes his property and is made to carry out domestic chores such as cooking and washing, as well as farming and fetching water. If a girl runs away or dies, or even if the priest tires of her, she must be replaced by another girl from the family. Some girls in ritual servitude are the third or fourth girl in their family suffering for the same crime, sometimes for something as trite as the loss of trivial property. If the priest should die, his Trokosi are passed on to his successor. Some girls do manage to get released, but they remain married to god for life. Many cannot marry, and remain indebted to the priest.