By Justin Udo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some mutilated children who had been victimized in their home country of Tanzania are now in Philadelphia, receiving treatment for their horrific injuries.
Albino children in Tanzania, born with a genetic anomaly that eliminates most of the pigmentation in their skin and/or hair, are believed to be an embodiment of evil spirits. Thousands of these children have been hunted down and had body parts cut off, which many believe hold magical powers.
Now, five of these children are at Shriners Hospital in North Philadelphia, getting some of the help they need.
“These children, unfortunately, had their arms amputated for the sale of their arms as, essentially, good luck charms,” notes Dr. Dan Zlotolow, who is working with the kids to help replace the limbs that were taken from them.
“Most of what we’ll be doing for them is fitting them with protheses,” he said. “A couple of them we may be doing a toe-to-hand transfer. We will be taking one of their toes and giving them something to pinch against in their hands,” like a thumb, he explains.
Zlotolow says the surgeries and recovery processes should take about six months, and after that the children will go back to Tanzania.
He says when they return home they will be protected to ensure this mistreatment does not happen to them again.