According to the Metropolitan Police there have been almost 60 cases of child abuse related to witchcraft or possession reported to Scotland Yard in the past two years alone.
Related Dispatches: Saving Africa's Witch Children (2008).
Few receive much publicity but perhaps the best known involved eight-year-old Victoria Climbie. Branded a witch by a local pastor in London in 2000, she was tortured to death by her guardians. More recently, the torture and abuse of 'Child B' who was accused of witchcraft in London in 2005, and the torture of two boys by their father in Bradford linked to a belief in witchcraft and possession highlight a growing problem.
It is not illegal to accuse a child of being a witch in the UK and members of the UK African community openly acknowledge the growing influence and powers of the pastors – that allegations of witchcraft are taking root here and something needs to be done.
'They're brainwashing them with ideas that they can be witches or possessed with evil spirits. I think we're finding it hard to see a way out because church leaders are such strong people and are people to look up to in our community.'
Moreover, with films promoting the idea of child witches being openly sold on London street markets and more extreme Nigerian preachers looking to set up churches in Britain and elsewhere, the problem will only get worse.