Tanzania Albinos are hunted like animals for their body parts. Families turn on their loved ones driven by greed and influence and encouraged by some of Tanzania’s most powerful people. People with albinism are regularly attacked by those who chop off their limbs, leaving them mutilated or dead, but even graves are robbed. Limbs are sold for $3000 to $4000 or $75,000 for a whole body. The buyers are thought to be some of the richest and most powerful people in the country. It is believed body parts bring luck and wealth. Witchdoctors turn bodies into charms and potions.
Those who campaign for Albino rights are fighting a war where no one can be trusted and you do not know whom your enemy is. Parents plan attacks on their children, husbands plan attacks on wives, and families plan attacks on their own relatives. The charity “Under the Same Sun” set up by a Canadian agrees with Albino Campaigners the only people with cash are politicians or wealthy businessman. Those who buy from witchdoctors are clearly powerful.
The witchdoctors and hired killers have been convicted but the customers have never been named, even when a witchdoctor is given the death sentence. The UN has warned that political campaigners are turning to witchdoctors to help them get elected. Now is one of the most dangerous times to be an Albino.
Camps set up as “safe places” around the country were established after the first high profile wave of attacks – a short term solution with no long term plan. Years later, they still exist, but not just for children, for adults as well. Families and communities do not allow children back and they grow up without parental care.
Now the government has outlawed the witchdoctors, the second time since 2009 when the law quietly died. This time the government is also emphasizing education, explaining Albinos are not ghosts with the help of the documentary “In the Shadow of the Sun.”
Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen.