Media file: 1091.jpg

Please be advised the following project contains graphic images that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Child sacrifice in Uganda is a phenomenon that has embedded itself within traditional customs but that bears no genuine relationship to local culture. The appeal to "cultural beliefs" is actually an excuse used by witchdoctors to justify their crimes, and by the Ugandan government to avoid taking action. The government tries to minimize the magnitude of the problem because politicians fear losing votes and this is a a country where witchdoctors wield surprising influence at the polls.

Most victims are children. Behind the torture, mutilation and killing of the victims lies just one single cause: money. This fraudulent business moves through every social class, from the poorest villagers who live out of the capital to rich tycoons and generals who determine the wealth and stability of the country.

Children are beheaded when new buildings are under construction -- because misinformed individuals believer that their heads, once buried beneath the foundation, will bring success to business. People looking for money, sexual performance or love visit healers who don't hesitate to kidnap children from their families or from the streets to acquire body parts, thus enabling them to charge their clients more. Witchdoctors perform cheap tricks for clients who are easily cheated, blackmailed or threatened -- and who are often turned into killers.

Organ trafficking due to ritual murder is another alarming side effect. Street children become easy targets and disappear every week.

The fraudulent branches of some Pentecostal churches play a role in this as well. These congregations have power, money, radio and TV channels -- and thousands of followers. The preachers use persuasion, threats, and blackmail to extort money from people, while children are killed to heal someone else from AIDS or cancer. Little has been done to bring the perpetrators to justice.