I had to create a whole new category for this one.
By Chris Rogers BBC News, Kampala and London
Over the last four years, at least 400 African children have been abducted and trafficked to the UK and rescued by the British authorities, according to figures obtained by the BBC. It is unclear how they are smuggled into the country but a sinister picture is emerging of why.
Whether it is through leaflets handed out in High Streets or small ads in local newspapers, witch-doctors and traditional African spiritual healers are becoming ever more prominent in Britain.
The work many of them do is harmless enough, but there is evidence that some are involved in the abuse of children who have been abducted from their families in Africa, and trafficked to the UK.
According to Christine Beddoe, director of the anti-trafficking charity Ecpat UK, a cultural belief in the power of human blood in so-called juju rituals is playing a part in the demand for African children.
“Our experience tells us that traffickers can be anybody. They can be people with power, people with money or people involved in witchcraft,” she explains.
“Trafficking can involve witch-doctors and other types of professionals in the community who are using those practices.”
Violent and degrading
Figures compiled by Ecpat, combined with those of the Metropolitan Police and Ceop, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, show that at least 400 African children have been abducted and trafficked to the UK and rescued by the British authorities.
I would have no problem to get a child officially or there is a way of doing it secretly, abduct a child”
Testimonies from many of these children have revealed that once they arrive in Britain, they are exposed to violent and degrading treatments, often involving the forced extraction of their blood to be used for clients demanding blood rituals.
Some of these victims agreed to share their experiences on the promise of anonymity because they still fear their abusers.
One boy explained how witch-doctors took his blood to be used in such rituals: “The traffickers or witch-doctors take your hair and cut your arms, legs, heads and genitals and collect the blood. They say if you speak out I can kill you.”
Another victim feared for her life, saying the “witch-doctor told me that one day he would need my head.