Propaganda at best.Benin's Voodoo Children
Benin is the home of Voodoo. The ancient animist belief was taken by slaves from this tiny West African state to Haiti and New Orleans. Benin is the only country in the world that officially recognises Voodoo as a state religion, affording it the same national status as Christianity or Islam.
But, as Unreported World reveals, Voodoo is trapping thousands in poverty and causing some families to sell their children in to slavery. Seen by its adherents as traditional belief that connects them to their land, culture and ancestors, Voodoo is a complex set of beliefs and obligations that, it is claimed, has helped enforce religious and social order for more than 4,000 years. However, as reporter Evan Williams and director James Brabazon discover, it is frequently perpetuated by threats, fear and even the kidnapping of young children.
Their journey takes them to Abomey, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey and a traditional centre for Voodoo worship. Here they discover that children as young as two have been identified by priests as the next generation to be initiated into secret religious rites.
Many are forced into so-called Voodoo Convents for expensive initiation ceremonies fuelled by animal sacrifices, and their impoverished parents must pay if they are ever to see their children again.