The combination of Christianity and traditional beliefs has led to widespread fear of witchcraft in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom is the epicentre of the witch-hunt, where 15,000 children have been branded as witches and frequently become the subject of accusations, torture and expulsion from the community. With the Niger Delta extremely volatile, death threats are commonplace for those trying to assist these children and, with so few people willing to help, child victims are vulnerable to abuse and trafficking.
SSNCES has successfully reintegrated 137 abused children into mainstream society since its inception just over a year ago. It has increased families’ ability to provide care to accused children by improving their understanding of the realities of witchcraft, and successfully lobbied the Government of Akwa Ibom State to ratify the Child Rights Act. Consequently, it has been able to reduce the occurrence of trafficking witch hunting, and child abandonment, and increase the number of convictions against violators of child rights.