Madonna Accused Of Child Trafficking In Malawi—Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Madonna is being accused of trafficking and sexually exploiting Malawian children by a charitable organization known as the Ethiopian World Federation – here’s everything you need to know.

By Nicole Dominique3 min read

Pop singer Madonna is being accused of human trafficking and sexually exploiting children by a charitable organization known as the Ethiopian World Federation (EWF), according to AllAfrica. As stated on the federation's website, the EWF is "a civic service organization that pushes policies and advocates to change the laws that harm all Black People."

Madonna herself famously adopted four children from Malawi, a landlocked country located in southeastern Africa. In 2006, Madonna founded a charity called Raising Malawi, a non-profit group that seeks to support orphans and vulnerable children through health and education programs.

The EWF is asking Malawian President Lazarus Chakwara to investigate Madonna's charity and "restrict her and her associates accessibility to Africa and to African children as a precautionary measure until a thorough investigation is done into child trafficking, sex exploitation, sexual slavery, adoption reversal, threat of coercion, fraud, deception and abuse of power or vulnerability."

Madonna's 1992 book titled Sex was cited in the petition, which features adult content, softcore porn, and sadomasochism. Pornographic content and LGBTQ conduct is punishable by law in the country of Malawi. "Gay porn stars were photographed in pornographic pictures with Madonna performing vulgar sex acts with the same sex which should have been disclosed during her adoption case in 2006 in Lilongwe, Malawi," the EWF's petition writes.

It continues, "Madonna had to sign a contract that forbade the book from including images of child pornography, bestiality, or religious imagery. Shortly after signing that agreement, Madonna founded a company called Maverick, a partnership with Time Warner. She now holds total artistic control over any work released by Maverick, who is now the book's publisher. The agreement she signed with Time Warner with the sexually explicit content in the book Sex was null and void."

The petition argues that the "psychology" behind Madonna's ability to "release child pornography, religious imagery, bestiality and vulgar pornography has prompted her to open an orphanage in Malawi named 'Raising Malawi' in 2006 to host social experiments on vulnerable African children in Malawi." 

The group suggests that the singer is using her Malawian adopted son, David Banda, "for sexual exploitation and social experiments." The petition cites the photos of David wearing women's clothes, makeup, and jewelry. The EWF also alleged that Madonna falsely claimed David’s dad of being absent when she applied for his adoption.

Madonna adopted more kids from Malawi after David – in 2009, after battling in court, the singer was finally approved to adopt Mercy James. She adopted a set of twins, Estere and Stella, in 2017. The plea further states, “We firmly believe that Malawi has been robbed of its most precious resource – its children,” it continues, “In 2013, the country accused Madonna of ‘bullying’ state officials and making diva demands –  and of citing her Raising Malawi charity as the reason for doing so.”

This Is Not the First Time Madonna Has Been Accused of Child Trafficking

In 2009, Madonna was accused of child trafficking when the Malawi court rejected her bid to adopt a second child. In her ruling, Judge Esimie Chombo warned people against celebrity adoptions, stating that they could lead to child trafficking. “Anyone could come to Malawi and quickly arrange for an adoption that might have grave consequences on the very children that the law seeks to protect,” she said. The court eventually ruled in favor of Madonna after she filed an appeal in 2009.

The Dark Side of Madonna's Adoptions

Mercy's grandmother, Lucy, shared her heartbreaking side of the adoption process. Lucy placed Mercy in a local orphanage for care until her immune system improved, but never intended to permanently part ways with her granddaughter. Mercy's family said they would let Madonna adopt her only until she was of grade-school age, and that she'd return to Malawi every two years for visits. 

The “Material Girl” singer did eventually return to Malawi, but she never took Mercy to her grandmother – even though Lucy was reportedly at her deathbed begging to see her. Madonna's lawyers addressed the matter in 2011, admitting that Mercy's family "had no legal right to see her." 

Mercy's biological uncle, Peter Baneti, signed the adoption papers after he and Lucy were told the little girl would be brought home regularly for visits. "I was the one who signed off the adoption papers," Peter said. "She told me herself that she didn't want Mercy to cut ties with her roots, that she'll be bringing her home regularly."

Mercy's family seemed to echo David's father and his claims on Madonna's broken promises: "The only reason I let Madonna adopt David was because she promised me she would give him a good education and then he could come home to live with me," he said.

The twins' father, Adam Mwale, claims he was misled throughout the adoption process, and was told from the beginning that his daughters would be returned to him. "I was told from the start that Esther [Estere] and Stella were going to a rich woman’s home abroad, that she would give them a good education, then return them to me, to live with me and help all of my family."

He continued, "Now you are telling me the adoption is permanent. That cannot be true – I don’t want it to be true. I am their father, and I will always be their father."

It seems Madonna has a history of disrespecting the natives of Malawi. In 2012, the singer announced that she was planning on building schools in Malawi that would educate at least 1,000 kids a year. The spokeswoman for Malawi's Ministry of Education, Lindiwe Chide, insisted that Madonna often acted behind authorities' wishes, adding that she was "fed up" with the pop star. "Now she decides to announce that she plans to build 10 schools without getting authority from us again," Lindiwe said.

Celebrity Adoptee Shares Her Thoughts 

In 2008, Christina Crawford – the adopted daughter of actress Joan Crawford – spoke out about celebrity adoptions and stated her concerns about Madonna and Angelina Jolie. "I have tremendous concerns about celebrity adoptions by people like Madonna and Angelina Jolie," she said in an interview. "From the adoptee's point of view, it is vitally important to know who they are, where they came from, or it can have profound medical and psychological effects."

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