Body Part Hunters Target Albino Children in Tanzania

Twelve-year-old Mwigulu Matonage poses with a stuffed animal that he says makes him feel safe at night and that he sleeps with on September 21, 2015. Shy, soft-spoken Mwigulu is missing an arm from a brutal attack in Tanzania  (Photographer: Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

Children born with albinism in Tanzania live in constant danger of being attacked by people looking to profit from superstitious beliefs. About one in 20,000 people is born with albinism, lacking pigment in their hair, skin, and eyes. In Tanzania, according to reporting from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, albino body parts are highly valued in witchcraft and can fetch a high price: “Superstition leads many to believe albino children are ghosts who bring bad luck.

Some believe the limbs are more potent if the victims scream during amputation, according to a 2013 United Nations report.” Reuters also notes, “The United Nations estimates about 75 albinos have been killed in the east African nation since 2000 and have voiced fears of rising attacks ahead of this year’s election, as politicians seek good luck charms from witch doctors.”

Reuters photographer Carlo Allegri recently documented the lives of several Tanzanian children receiving care in New York after being brutalized in their home country.

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Sources & Additional Images: & Albino Children in Tanzania Targeted by Body Part Hunters -By Alan Taylor | The Atlantic & Rescued from the Albino Hunters | Thomson Reuters Foundation