I have been working with human trafficking survivors for about four years, and in that time I have seen a pattern form – a very dark and disturbing pattern. Young girls and boys were being sexually abused, trafficked, tortured and killed by occultists to obtain wealth and power.
Within six months, I was involved with three trafficking cases in which the victims were Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) survivors. The occult was not new to me, but this was different. Now I was thrown knee deep into the lives of survivors whose stories I could hardly believe - but I did believe. I had to believe - because I knew God was speaking - and He was exposing the unholy connection between human trafficking and the occult. In this article we will look at three forms of occult practice: Juju, Satanic Ritual Abuse and Santa Muerte.
For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.
Deut. 18:14 (NASB)
Faces of the Occult
The terms occult and witchcraft refer to unrighteous supernatural means used to empower or harm a person. It is widely acknowledged that many traffickers use occult powers to gain supernatural knowledge and protection. This empowers them with the ability to send curses to disrupt police investigations, to remain hidden from arrest and to stay protected from harm and death.
Interestingly, Jesus used similar supernatural means of protection in Luke 4, when he walked right through the crowds that were attempting to murder him. The difference is that Jesus acted on wisdom from heaven; traffickers use knowledge from hell and are subject to the curses that practicing witchcraft brings.
When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (NIV)
While each occult practice tied with human trafficking has its unique spells and incantations, they all employ demons that empower and shield their practitioners. The devil always requires payment for demonic protection, and it is usually in the form of human or animal blood sacrifice. Let’s take a look at three distinct occult practices – each requiring blood sacrifice:
Juju is the ritual of “oath swearing” that traffickers use as a powerful weapon of coercion (1). Before victims leave their home, a Juju priest conducts a ceremony to bind the victims in unconditional obedience to the trafficker; the victim is warned, if she disobeys the oath, she will suffer the wrath of the spirit world through nightmares, madness or death. Juju is rarely spoken about publicly. There is fear that even talking about it can bring about harm. (2) This unwillingness of victims to speak about the Juju practice makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute perpetrators.
In the two stories below we see how Juju is use to terrorize victims into complying with their traffickers.
She was taken to a house of witchcraft in Lagos before she was brought to Britain for a promised education that she never received. The teenager was handed a mixture consisting of what appeared to be blood and cloth and told to bathe in it and wrap the cloth around her. A priest cut hair from her armpits, some of her finger and toenails and extracted blood from her hand. Removing body parts meant that they could be controlled from afar. Another teenager said the woman was told that the body parts taken in the ritual would be used to find and kill her if ever she tried to run away or spoke out against him. (3)
Another trafficker used physical violence and psychological intimidation to enslave about 20 girls who allegedly worked 14 hours a day without pay at hair-braiding salons in Newark and East Orange, New Jersey. “If we didn’t stay with her… they said we would go crazy.” (4)
Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) is the psychological, sexual, and/or physical assault forced on an unwilling human victim and committed by one or more Satanists according to a prescribed ritual, the primary aim of which is to fulfill the need to worship Satan (5). The cults intend to destroy these victims’ free will by undermining their sense of safety in the world and by forcing them to hurt others.
She witnessed human sacrifices, suffered sexual abuse, and developed Multiple Personality Disorder because her family’s sect had involved her in their time-honored rituals from a young age. Outwardly, the family was Jewish, upstanding, and traditional. Her mother even served on a human rights commission in their Illinois town. But some of the women in the family were “breeders” who offered their babies as human sacrifices (Vicki explained that they were overweight enough to conceal secret pregnancies). She was forced to murder an infant herself. According to Vicki, her mother’s family had practiced Satanism as far back as the seventeenth century. Periods of normality would be brutally interrupted by nights of depravity; “what was bad, was good.” (6)
The worship of Santa Muerte involves a set of ritual practices offered on behalf of a supernatural personification of death…[she] is comparable in theology to supernatural beings or archangels. [She] is known to provide supernatural intervention for [her] followers who engage in the correct rituals and provide the proper offerings and sacrifices. These rituals include candle magic, herbs, oils, amulets and spiritual energy. Over half of the prayers include petitions to harm other people via curses and death magic. (7)
This next story is a reminder that spiritual forces of darkness often manifest in the natural realm. These officers encountered a supernatural force that hindered their ability perform their duties. What a perfect opportunity for the church to provide the true “spiritual armor” needed to fight this enemy – prayer and authority in Jesus.
Peace officers in cartel training have stated that they will have nothing to do with such Santa Muerte artifacts as altars, candles, statues, amulets, pictures, and sacrificial items because they consider them evil and, as a result, will not enter dwellings that contain them. In fact, Santa Muerte informational training can prove so stressful for some law enforcement and public safety officers that they can become physically ill and pass out. This has happened during training more than once. Programs and writings concerning wellness and spirituality in policing can provide “spiritual armor” against dark ritualistic crime scenes and altars containing human remains. (8)
The Power of Sacrifice
There is power in sacrifice. For traffickers performing blood sacrifices, it is demonic power that enables them to manipulate and control their victims. This type of sacrifice always leads to death, naturally and spiritually.
For believers, it is a living sacrifice of the heart and our very lives. This sacrifice always leads to life. It can overthrow rituals, spells, incantations and every power of darkness. A trafficker has temporary control – that is, until a believer steps in and confronts the demonic power of a trafficker with the power of Jesus. Game over!
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. - Romans 12:1(NKJV)
- Father, forgive us for denying the power of the occult and fearing its power. Give us a spirit of boldness to embrace the power and authority we have through Jesus. (Titus 2:11-15)
- Lord, we declare EXPOSURE to every hidden cell, coven, cult and gang that enslaves your children. Where they operate in the darkness of witchcraft, we speak the light of God to bind their hands and reveal their activities. (John 3:20)
- We bless those held in slavery, that they will know their true inheritance as sons & daughters, binding the spirit of slavery that leads to fear and loosing the spirit of the Lord’s adoption that leads to life. (Romans 8:15)
- Harrop, E.W. “Ties that bind: African witchcraft and contemporary slavery.” www. Lastradainternational.org. Liberty and Humanity, 17 Sept., 2012. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
- “Trafficking in Persons Report 2013.” http://www.state.gov U.S. .Department of State. N.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. Rogers. C. “African children trafficked to UK for blood rituals. wwwbbc.co.uk. BBC News. 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
- Cskparkes. “ Spellbound: witchcraft and human trafficking.” www. thetraffickingresearchproject.wordpress.com. The Trafficking Research Project.18 Jan. 2013. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.
- 4. Dela Cruz, Christopher. “Witness testifies victims made to perform ‘voodoo ritual’ in N.J. human trafficking case.” http://www.nj.com New J.ersey News. 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.
- http://www.urbandictionary.com Urban. Dictionary. N.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
- Margaret, Smith. “Ritual Abuse: What It Is, Why It Happens, and How to Help.” Goodreads. Goodreads Inc. n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
- Bunker, Robert J. Ph.D. “Santa Muerte: Inspired and Ritualistic Killings (Part 1 of 3).” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Feb. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
- Bunker, Robert J. Ph.D. “Santa Muerte: Inspired and Ritualistic Killings (Part 3 of 3).” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Feb. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. Samuel L. Feemster, “Wellness and Spirituality: Beyond Survival Practices for Wounded Warriors,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, May 2009: 2-8; “Spirituality: An Invisible Weapon for Wounded Warriors,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, January 2009: 1-12; and “Spirituality: The DNA of Law Enforcement Practice,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, November 2007: 8-17.