††† SENAĖ A Film about Slavery

Text Box: Trokosi ("wife of the gods") is a traditional religious practice in Ghana and neighbouring countries whereby young virgin girls are made slaves to shrines for offenses allegedly committed by a member of their family
The bondage dates back to the 17 century and is practiced in Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, where it is believed to have originated.
The Trokosi system - a form of modern day slavery - is believed to be Ghana's most fundamental human rights problem today.
 In June of 1998, the Criminal Code of 1960, Act 29 was amended to outlaw harmful traditional practices including the Trokosi system but these types of shrines still remain in existence today.  

Innumerable atrocities are committed against women and children everyday all over the world.  We never hear about these victims because the offences are carried out in secrecy or under the guise of cultural norms. The ones who suffer do so in silence. This is the case of the Trokosi of Ghana.  Ever since I had the opportunity to meet and interview a number of former Trokosi, I felt compelled to tell their story.   The stories that I heard were devastating and touched me greatly. I was appalled that such a practice could continue to exist even in the face of loud opposition.  The narratives that I heard over and over again were all so very sad; all of them containing all the elements of classic tragedies.  To me it didnít sound like something that would be happening in modern times, it sounded more like the Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome.
When I first heard about the practice on my first trip to Ghana, my immediate reaction was that the subject matter would make an incredible film. I knew right away it was a subject I wanted to explore more. It fell right in line with much of the social justice work Iíve done in the past.  When I returned home I applied for some development fund and a short while later I was in Ghana again with my camcorder, a translator and a long list of contacts.  For several weeks, I travelled to remote parts of Ghana and interviewed dozens of former Trokosi and many who are working in around the issue. I was able to witness firsthand what the shrines looked like and the types of condition the women and girls were forced to live in.
On my return home, I took to my computer and started to write a script based on the stories I was told. Some characters in the script are based on people that I actually met but the majority of the lead characters are fictional. 
In the writing of Sena, I wanted to create a timeless piece with universal resonance. I hoped that audiences would see their daughters, granddaughters, nieces and beloveds in Sena.  
With the making of this film, I hope to bring the silence suffering of the Trokosi to the forefront. 

Story Synopsis
Sena is an innocent little girl in rural Ghana who one day dreams of becoming a nun. This dream is shattered when she is secretly sent off to a shire to atone for a crime that she did not commit .  In the shire she suffers numerous atrocities and inhumanities. She is raped repeated by the priest and is force to work with out pay. She escapes and makes it back home only to be returned to the shrine out of fear of evil repercussions.  Others attempts at escape are also not successful.  When she gives birth to a daughter, who she names Sena she leaves her on the church steps with hopes that he daughter will have a better life than her.  


Illuminating , Entertaining ,† Educational

Mamaa talks about living in the shrine for over† 60 years.

Julie Dogbadi† who received a Reebok Human Rights Award for her work with fellow Trokosi, talks about the brutality of life in the shrine.

Wanna talks about how she† became a slave.

Research footage

Read an article† about the project