The old name for Benin is Dahomey, named after the ancient Kingdom of Dahomey that was centered at Abomey. The name is revealing, derived from "Dah" or "Dan", a snake god. There are shrines in the main marketplace of Coutonou where these so-called "sacred" snakes were housed and worshiped.
Many of the tribes of West Africa at one time practiced human sacrifice to some degree, but Dahomey seems to have been the hotbed of this practice. As late as the 1800's, eyewitnesses reported seeing people beheaded in droves at the annual office, the day when the powers of the king were renewed for the coming year. Forms of African Traditional Religion called Voudou have had a stranglehold on the spiritual life of Benin for ages. Every Child Ministries targets Benin as an outreach country because we know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has power to break all bondages. We target Benin because so many children there are held captive by bondages associated with the worship of the snake god and others. Our strategy is to strengthen the outreach of local churches and individual believers to bring the Gospel to children.