Violence against women

Slavery in Ghana: The Trokosi Tradition

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2002 May 1

Abla KotorAccording to the trokosi tradition practiced in southeastern Ghana, virgin girls are given to village priests as a way of appeasing the gods for crimes committed by family members. The word trokosi in the Ewe language means "slaves of the gods." Once given to the priest, a girl becomes his property and is made to carry out domestic chores such as cooking and washing, as well as farming and fetching water.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the officials listed below. Express your concern that thousands of trokosi are reportedly still held in shrines in spite of the 1998 law that prohibits the practice. Call on the government to take immediate steps to ensure that all trokosi are immediately released, and to make provision for their financial support, education, return to their families and re-integration into their communities. Urge the government to issue immediate instructions to police nationwide to enforce the law, and initiate legal prosecutions against shrines that have been holding trokosi in violation of the 1998 law.

His Excellency the President
Mr. J.A. Kufour
Office of the President
State House
Accra, GHANA
Fax: +233 21 676934

The Minister for Justice & Attorney General
Hon. Nana Akuffo Addo
Ministry of Justice & Attorney General's Dept.
P.O. Box M 60, Ministries
Accra, GHANA
Fax: +233 21 667609

Please also write to the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing concern over the apparent misrepresentation by the United States Government of the trokosi practice to the detriment of those working to end it. Ask him to take immediate action to correct this misrepresentation and to reaffirm that the trokosi practice is a severe human rights violation. Letters should be addressed to:

Secretary of State Colin Powell
US Department of State
Washington DC 20520, USA
Fax: +1 202 261 8577

Ghana: Legislation Enacted to Criminalize the Trokosi Tradition of Enslavement

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1999 Jan 1

On 12 June 1998, the Ghanaian Parliament passed an amendment to the Criminal Code, adding Section 314A which criminalizes customary or ritual enslavement of any kind. The new law, which was signed by the President in September 1998, provides:

(1) Whoever

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of Ghana, thanking him for his support of legislation to criminalize the trokosi practice. Urge him to take steps to ensure that the legislation is brought to the attention of local communities and that it accomplishes its purpose of ending the trokosi tradition. Please also request his intervention on behalf of Abla Kotor, to facilitate the efforts of International Needs for her liberation from the Awlo-Korti shrine. Letters should be sent to:

His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings
President of the Republic of Ghana
The Castle-Osu
Accra
GHANA

Slavery in Ghana: The Trokosi Tradition

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1998 Mar 1

Abla KotorAbla Kotor is 13 years old. At the age of 12, she was given to a local priest in atonement for the rape that resulted in her birth, the rape of her mother by her mother's uncle. As soon as Abla Kotor has completed three menstrual cycles, she too will almost certainly be raped, by the priest to whom she was given. Meanwhile, she works his fields and farmlands, cleans his home and cooks his meals.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the following Parliamentary officials in Ghana. Urge them to pass the legislation which has been introduced to criminalize the trokosi tradition and to take immediate action to ensure the release of all trokosi in Ghana and the protection of girls in the future from this tradition. Note that Ghana is a party to many international treaties which prohibit slavery in all forms, and that the Constitution of Ghana also prohibits slavery and forced labor. Letters should be sent to:

Chairperson of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Select
Committee
Parliament House
Accra, Ghana

The Clerk of Parliament
Parliament House
Accra, Ghana

Chairperson of the Women's Caucus
Parliament of Ghana
Accra, Ghana

United States: Judicial Misconduct in the State of Maryland - The Peacock Case

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1994 Dec 1

On October 17, 1994, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland, Judge Robert E. Cahill sentenced Kenneth Peacock for killing his wife Sandra on February 9, several hours after he found her in bed with another man. In delivering his decision at the sentencing hearing, Judge Cahill said, "I seriously wonder how many married men...would have the strength to walk away...without inflicting some corporal punishment, whatever that punishment might be.

What You Can Do: 

Join the efforts of women's organizations in Maryland to protest Judge Cahill's demonstrated insensitivity to the most extreme violence against women. Write to the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities, asking them to investigate the Peacock case and take appropriate disciplinary action to demonstrate that the State of Maryland is committed to equal protection of the law, including the protection of women from domestic violence. Acknowledge the efforts of the Commission to reprimand Judge Bollinger for his conduct in the Gillette case but note that these efforts do not appear to have had much effect on the judge, indicating that more forceful action might be required in such cases. Contact the media and ask them to publicize the case of Judge Cahill. Send copies of your letters, and of any press clippings, to the Select Committee on Gender Equality and to the Women's Law Center.

The Honorable Theodore G. Bloom, Chair
Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
Courts of Appeal Building
361 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Select Committee on Gender Equality
Courts of Appeal Building
361 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

The Women's Law Center
P.O. Box 5362
Lutherville, MD 21094-5362

Japan: The Death of Maricris Sioson

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1993 Dec 1

The case of Maricris Sioson—her life, her death, and the inaction of the Japanese government despite medical evidence of homicide - is a tragic illustration of the vulnerability of the tens of thousands of Filipino women working in Japan's entertainment industry.

What You Can Do: 

Please bring this case to the attention of the media and the general public. Contact the following Japanese authorities, and the Japanese embassy in your country, expressing your concern over the death of Maricris Sioson and the failure of the Japanese government to investigate the clear evidence that she died of unnatural causes. Call for an investigation of Maricris Sioson's death, and prosecution of those responsible, to demonstrate the commitment of the Japanese government to uphold the rule of law and ensure that justice is done for Maricris Sioson and her family. Letters and petitions should be addressed to the following authorities:

Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto
Prime Minister
1-6-1 Nagata-cho
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan

Mr. Eiichi Moriyama
Chief Prosecutor
Fukushima Local Prosecutors Office
(Chiho kensatuscho)
17 Kitsunezuka
960 Fukushima, Japan

Mr. Yukihiko Ikeda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2-2-1 Kasumigaseki
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan

Mr. Takaji Kunimatsu
Commissioner General
The National Police Agency
2-1-2 Kasumigaseki
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan

 

Mexico: The abduction and murder of women in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua City

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2006 Aug 1

Minerva TorresMinerva Teresa Torres Albeldaño, an eighteen-year-old woman from Chihuahua City in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, disappeared on 13 March 2001 after leaving home to attend a job interview. It took nine days for the police to initiate a search for Minerva. They maintained that she had run away, denying the urgent and repeated requests of her parents for intervention.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the authorities listed below. Remind them of the government’s obligations under CEDAW to ensure equal protection of the law to women. Urge them to find ways to ensure that all cases of the murder of women in Chihuahua State are appropriately investigated and punished, in particular by prosecuting all those officials considered by the Special Prosecutor to be criminally negligent in their investigations. Mention the case of Minerva Torres as a clear example of investigative misconduct and ask what is being done to bring to justice those who were responsible for the delay or obstruction of justice in her case, including State Public Prosecutor Jesús José Solís Silva, who had oversight responsibility at the time. Call on the authorities to make clear by prosecuting the responsible government officials that obstruction of justice will not be tolerated. Address your letters to:

MDP Patricia González Rodríguez
Chihuahua State Public Prosecutor
C. Vicente Guerrero #616
Col. Centro C.P. 31000
Chihuahua, MEXICO
Fax: +52 614 4 29 33 0

President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Residencia Oficial de "Los Pinos"
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec
C.P. 11850, México, D.F., MEXICO
Fax: +52 55 52 77 23 76
To send an email to President Calderón, go to: http://contacto.presidencia.gob.mx/en

Send copies of your letters to the recently appointed Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Related to Acts of Violence against Women in Mexico, Dr. Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, at Río Amazonas No. 43 Piso 9, Col. Cuauhtémoc, Delg. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06500 México, D.F., MEXICO, Fax: +52 55 53 46 09 90, Email: atencionmujeres@pgr.gob.mx.

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