In 2008 a Bafta and Emmy Award-winning Dispatches told the story of how children in Africa's Niger Delta were being denounced by Christian pastors as witches and wizards and then killed, tortured or abandoned by their own families.
The film, which prompted international outrage against a practice conducted in the name of Jesus, forced the Nigerian authorities and the United Nations to act.
Child rights legislation came into force making it illegal to brand children as witches and some pastors were arrested. Financial support also poured in to assist a small, Lancaster-based British charity, Stepping Stones Nigeria, providing the only safe refuge for hundreds of youngsters attacked after claims that they were possessed by the Devil.
In Return to Africa's Witch Children, which will screen on Monday (23rd November) on Channel 4, Dispatches reveals what happened to some of the children and church leaders who originally featured, and discovers that even now children as young as two are still being stigmatised as witches and treated as outcasts.
Stepping Stones Gary Foxcroft also returns to Nigeria and discovers that since his last visit the rescue centre that houses many of these children was the target of an attack. He also learns that the number of children living there has in fact risen.
Stepping Stones Nigeria works in partnership with local organisations in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria to build sustainable futures for some of the region's many disadvantaged children, including protecting, saving and transforming the lives of children who have been stigmatised as being 'witches'.
• For more information on the documentary, an article by Gary and more, visit this page on the Channel 4 web site
• Stepping Stones Nigeria web site: www.steppingstonesnigeria.org
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