Many children in Uganda are abducted and taken to witch doctors to be "used" in child sacrifice rituals.
The government set up the Anti-Human Sacrifice and Trafficking Task Force to help address the problem, but it may not be enough to stop the cruel practice.
Researchers said child sacrifice is not about tradition, but about greed. People believe that if they go to witch doctors and sacrifice children, they will have greater wealth, power and happiness. The practice is done by both high- and low-income members of society, according to the Independent.
"Purer" blood is said to increase the power of rituals, that is why children are usually the target for the gruesome practice.
"The rich believe, 'If I sacrifice, then my business will prosper.' The poor believe if they sacrifice a child, they'll get rich," said Shelin Kasozi, a child protection officer, according to Business Insider.
As the 2016 elections draw near in the country, more incidents of child sacrifice are expected to happen. "Now we are going into elections, you will find that there are so many Ugandans, even high-profile people, going to witch doctors' shrines," said Moses Binoga, who heads the Anti-Human Sacrifice and Trafficking Task Force, in the Business Insider story. "Some of them will be so desperate that, if they're told to win a seat as an MP 'you must sacrifice a child,' they'll do it."
The task force chief said five cases of child sacrifice were reported this year and nine cases were reported last year. However, activists dispute these figures and say that the numbers are actually higher. According to Ureport, a text messaging-based reporting system approved by UNICEF, 10,317 young people representing every district in Uganda said they have heard of child sacrifice victims in their own community, according to the Guardian.
In 2013, Humane Africa, an organization that protects and supports the most disadvantaged children in Uganda, said in their four-month stay in the country, from June to September 2012, they received an average of one report of child sacrifice each week in each of the 25 communities they were researching.
KidsRights, an organization that promotes the well-being of children, agree that there may be an underreporting of the actual child sacrifice statistics in the country, saying reported figures are probably just the "tip of the iceberg, as data is insufficient and the real scope of child sacrifice is not yet visible," according to the Guardian.
Witch doctors prefer children without piercings or marks on their body, so many parents pierce their children's ears and have them circumcised at an early age to avoid abduction.
Unfortunately, some children still get abducted as they are walking home from school or getting water from the wells.
One survivor, Allan Ssembatya, was kidnapped when he was 7 years old while on his way home from school. He remembered being taken to a witch doctor's shrine where two men cut across his neck and across his shoulders. After this, they sliced his skull open. The witch doctor crushed his testicles before cutting them off, reported Mail Online.
The boy was dumped in the bushes where he was discovered. He was rushed to the hospital and, miraculously, he survived. However, he suffers from seizures once in a while, and the trauma still regularly haunts him in nightmares.