Oath-Taking and the Role of African Traditional Religion in Human Trafficking

Publication Date May 20, 2022


There is relatively little empirical research into the supernatural enforcement of an agreement between two parties through the swearing of ritual oaths before a deity that belongs to the African traditional religion cosmology. An emerging but vibrant body of qualitative work has explored different aspects of ritual oath-taking as a method of control used by certain traffickers to keep their victims in perpetual bondage. Employing the epistemological sources of tradition, reason, experience, and community's interpenetration and interpretation, this study demonstrates that traffickers are simply utilizing commonly held beliefs and practices within ATR to exploit their victims and encourage human trafficking. Findings reveal that despite the current trends toward civilization, globalism, and modernity, the role of the spiritual realm in human affairs (human trafficking) bound with the high place given to ritual and symbolism remains critical in trafficking enterprise in the African worldview, regardless of the religious affiliation.

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Human Trafficking
African Religion
African Worldview
Community Interpretation
Human Affairs
Method Of Control
African Cosmology
Traditional Cosmology
Current Trends
Empirical Research

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