Nigerian victims of human trafficking often fear revenge of voodoo spirits after escaping from their offenders. Human traffickers usually tell them that voodoo spirits will disturb their sleep and their peace of mind and eventually drive them crazy in case the victim would break the contract. In the Nigerian context, this fear is real and threatening. Western health care professionals should not consider this fear of voodoo as an anxiety disorder, especially because treatment would improperly challenge the validity of deeply rooted religious beliefs. We describe the case of a 35-year-old Nigerian male victim of human trafficking, who was sent to our Dutch treatment facility because of a disabling fear of voodoo. We refused treatment, but instead had an open dialogue about explanations for his symptoms. This made him aware of the way in which human traffickers abuse Nigerian religion and it relieved him from most of his anxiety.
|Translated title of the contribution||A real fear of voodoo spirits|
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2019|
- Psychiatric disorder