'Voodoo' on the doorstep : young Nigerian prostitutes and magic policing in the Netherlands

Title'Voodoo' on the doorstep : young Nigerian prostitutes and magic policing in the Netherlands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsR.A. van Dijk
Secondary TitleAfrica : journal of the International African InstituteAfrica
Pagination558 - 586
Date Published2001///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, African religions, Country, identity, images, Netherlands, Nigeria, Nigerians, prostitution, refugees, religious rituals, voodoo

This article deals with the moral panic that emerged in the Netherlands when it became publicly known that under-age Nigerian girls were being smuggled into the country to be put to 'work' in the sex industry. A police investigation not only found hundreds of cases but also uncovered the fact that certain unknown and occult rituals played a part in how traffickers, 'madams' and other sex bosses appeared to keep the girls locked in this exploitative system. Soon an unspecified notion of 'voodoo' came to dominate the police operation, the public image of what was happening to these girls, and the way in which the girls were treated within the Dutch judicial system. The article deconstructs the moral panic and the images of Africa and the occult which became so crucial to the way the Dutch state tried to deal with the situation. It sets this analysis in the context of an anthropology of globalization and a cultural exploration of how issues of morality and identity are affected by "the occult economies of late capitalist relations". It concludes that to a great extent the scale of the moral panic can be understood by pointing at the rigidity of the identity politics of the Dutch nation State in previous years. Research was carried out in 1996-1998. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French

IR handle/ Full text URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1887/9518
Citation Key1013