Religious Leader To Speak In Fulton
Pimpong will speak on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. in Hazel 112 on the Westminster College campus in Fulton.
In Ghana West Africa and some other African countries such as Togo and Benin, members of the Ewe tribe practice a religious rite called Trokosi in which family members forfeit the liberty of their children to appease the gods for crimes committed by other family members. Children, sometimes as young as five years old and almost always females, are given by their families to the priest of a shrine for a life of servitude and deprivation. The priest has complete control over the girl with the right to abuse her sexually and deny her education, food and health care.
In 1990, Pimpong was approached by government officials to take action against this problem. Although his mother was a member of the Ewe tribe, he was unaware of what a critical problem it was until he saw the practice firsthand.
Pimpong witnessed the first release ceremony of 30 children in 1991. Today over 3,500 women from 52 different shrines have been freed because of his efforts. However, over 2,000 are still enslaved along with their estimated 8,000 children.
Pimpong conducts his work as Executive Director of International Needs Ghana, a Christian organization working to aid minorities in need in the world. The organization refuses to pay for the release of the girls but successfully negotiates their release on human rights grounds.
Once a girl is released, International Needs provides counseling and training to help her adjust to freedom and live independently.
In 2001, International Needs Ghana held a joint conference with Anti-Slavery International to call attention to this problem.
Pimpong and his family are under constant threat of physical and spiritual attack from supporters and practitioners of this religious rite.
Pimpong's appearance is a part of the "A Life of Faith Forum" series that is sponsored by Westminster College Spiritual Life.