Albino People Increasingly Being Killed for Their Body Parts in Malawi

Cassim Jaffalie, 3, stands with his friends at their family home in this Monday, May, 23, 2016 photo in Machinga about 200 kilometres north east of Blantyre Malawi.His father Razik Jaffalie gave up his work as a bicycle taxi operator to protect his son in a country where there has been an increase in albinism attacks. At least 18 Albino people have been killed in Malawi in a "steep upsurge in killings" since November 2014, and five others have been abducted and remain missing, a new Amnesty International report released Tuesday, June 7, 2016 says. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Cassim Jaffalie, 3, stands with his friends at their family home in this Monday, May, 23, 2016 photo in Machinga about 200 kilometres north east of Blantyre Malawi.His father Razik Jaffalie gave up his work as a bicycle taxi operator to protect his son in a country where there has been an increase in albinism attacks. At least 18 Albino people have been killed in Malawi in a “steep upsurge in killings” since November 2014, and five others have been abducted and remain missing, a new Amnesty International report released Tuesday, June 7, 2016 says. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

At least 18 people with albinism have been killed for their body parts in the southern African country of Malawi since November 2014, Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday.

The body parts are sold for use in remedies by witch doctors, who say albino parts bring good luck or wealth, according to the report., It added that women and children are especially vulnerable to attack because of the myth that having sex with a person with albinism can cure HIV/AIDS.

The actual number of killings likely is higher because many deaths in rural areas go unreported, Amnesty International said.

There are an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people born with the absence of pigment in their skin, eyes and hair, according to The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi. They “live in fear of losing their lives to criminal gangs, who, in some instances, include close family members,” Amnesty said.

“Societal misunderstanding of albinism in Malawi has endangered the lives of this population group. It has created insecurity and widespread discrimination. In everyday life people with albinism are frequently treated as less than human,” the group said.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Jessica Durando