A string of murders that began in 2000 has now left more than 72 albinos in Tanzania dead. These killings are believed to be motivated by the lucrative trade in albino body parts, which some Africans believe possess magical powers.
Tanzania has now been listed by the United Nations as the African nation where albinos are targeted for murder the most. According to long-standing traditions in the country, albinos are believed to be ghosts who are cursed, but whose body parts can ward off bad luck, and bring the owner wealth and success. In response to these killings, in January 2015 Tanzania banned witch doctors.
In East Africa, one child in 3,000 is born albino, compared to one in 20,000 in the United States. In Tanzania, albino advocacy groups estimate the number of albinos to be somewhere above 100,000 in a population of nearly 50 million people.
VICE News traveled to Tanzania to meet with Josephat Torner, an albino activist who has dedicated his life to raising awareness and acceptance towards albinos in his country, while debunking the widespread myths and superstitions surrounding the congenital disorder.
In this excerpt, Josephat talks about the witchdoctor-motivated albino killings and discusses instances where family members have facilitated these murders.