Do Witch Hunts Still Happen in Modern Times?

witch-hunts-still-happen-modern-times Credit: Zing Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Modern witch hunts still happen in places like Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, India and Sub-Saharan Africa. People often blame “witches” for natural disasters and disease.

People in India often accuse a woman of witchcraft in order to steal her land or get back at her for refusing sex. It is estimated that as many as 200 people per year are killed for witchcraft in the country.

Papua New Guinea has the “1976 Sorcery Act,” which puts people in prison for practicing black magic. As many as 150 cases of violence against “witches” happen every year there.

Saudi Arabia Amnesty International reported in 2009 that 1000 people in Gambia were abducted by “witch doctors” working for the government and then forced to drink poisonous materials. Groups of Bantu tribes in Southern Africa employed “witch smellers” who detected witches. These hunters and others were responsible for hundreds of deaths from witch hunts since 1990. African states like Cameroon have added witchcraft as a crime someone can be accused of in court. A mob in Kenya was responsible for burning to death 11 people in a witch hunt in 2008. Another example is in the camp of Gnani in northern Ghana where more than 900 people were accused of witchcraft.