Trokosi (“wife of the gods”) is a traditional religious practice in Ghana and neighboring countries whereby young virgin girls are made slaves to shrines for offenses allegedly committed by a member of their family. To appease local gods, young virgin girls are bonded to the priest of the shrine for life and become their domestic and sexual servants. The bondage dates back to the 17 century and is practiced in neighbouring Togo, Benin and Nigeria, where it is believed to have originated. The Trokosi system – a form of modern day slavery – is believed to be Ghana’s most fundamental human rights problem today. In June of 1998, the Criminal Code of 1960, Act 29 was amended to outlaw harmful traditional practices including the Trokosi system but shrines still remain in existence. To date hundreds of young women have been librated but it is estimated that there are still girls and women who remain dedicated as Trokosi; girls as young as 8.
Innumerable atrocities are committed against women and children everyday all over the world. We never hear about these victims because the offences are carried out in secrecy or under the guise of cultural norms. The ones who suffer do so in silence. This is the case of the Trokosi of Ghana. Ever since I had the opportunity to meet and interview a number of former Trokosi, I felt compelled to tell their story. The stories that I heard were devastating and touched me greatly. I was appalled that such a practice could continue to exist even in the face of loud opposition.
This film is dedicated to the plight of the Trokosi.
Sena is an innocent little girl in rural Ghana who one day dreams of becoming a nun. This dream is shattered when she is secretly sent off to a shire to atone for a crime that she did not commit . In the shire she suffers numerous atrocities and inhumanities. She is raped repeated by the priest and is force to work without pay. When she gives birth to a daughter, who she names Sena, she leaves her on the church steps with hopes that the child will have a better life than her.
Mama talks about living in the Shrine for over 60 years
Julie Dogbadi who received a Reebok Human Rights Award for her work with fellow Trokosi, talks about the brutality of life in the shrine.
Wanna talks about how she became a slave