Monday, February 13, 2006

African Children Victims of Satanic Panic

In the Congolese city of Kinshasa, thousands of young children have been turned out of their homes and/or been subjected to grueling exorcisms because their families believe them to be witches. Thanks to the recent proliferation of evangelical churches in the area (many of which charge fees for exorcism and make money from TV broadcasts about possessed children), not to mention the extreme poverty and political instability of the region, household misfortunes and family deaths are often attributed to the most vulnerable citizens - kids. An estimated 25,000 children roam the streets of the city (pop. 7 million). Some end up in shelters, but strangers usually refuse to help homeless children...because they could be witches.

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