It's hard to believe that in this day and age, countless women around the world are being accused of something that sounds pretty medieval. According to the UN, women accused of being witches are persecuted and sometimes murdered around the world. Even children thought to be witches are being targeted, too. The UN estimates that this violence is impacting the lives of millions of people.
So where is this unbelievable violence taking place? It's happening in places from South Africa, to India, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea. In Nigeria, homeless children are driven out of towns because they are suspected of witchcraft. While different cultures hold diverse beliefs about witchcraft, UN experts believe that those suspected of having "supernatural" powers are typically targeted when a society faces rapid cultural or social change. In these cases, the vulnerable get the blame for the community's misfortunes.
Violence associated with witchcraft caught the attention of the UN because it's causing an international refugee problem. In addition to being victims of violence, the accused are often forcibly displaced or trafficked. Let's hope now that the widespread witch-hunting has gained international attention, something will be done to help these people.