The fight against marabout fraud must be intensified, an elected Lausanne official is demanding

In the canton of Vaud, scams involving maraboutage are increasing according to information collected by RTS. Fourteen cases have already been identified since the beginning of the year, a 15% increase since last year.

Even if the number of cases may seem modest, it is above all the sum to which this damage relates that calls into question: 150,000 francs in total for the 15 cases, i.e. an amount that is very considerable per victim can prove.

In addition, for the Vaud police, these cases are just the tip of the iceberg. The phenomenon is actually more important because some victims do not dare to report it. They remain silent because they are ashamed or because they are afraid that the marabout’s actions will no longer have any effect.

The culprits of these scams present themselves as psychics or mediums. According to the police, they are of African descent and are mainly from France. They get in touch via posters in mailboxes, but now also via websites. As for the payment, it often has to be sent abroad.

Legally, these people are usually accused of usury and fraud.

Bring back the loved one

The victims are mostly women in a state of emotional distress, which these marabouts often call upon to bring their loved one back.

In order not to get caught up in a cycle of endless payments, the police recommend that you do not send large sums of money to a marabout, and in any case no more than the price of a standard clairvoyance consultation, i.e. a few hundred francs.

A common point with sectarian aberrations

What can the political authorities do in the face of these increasing scams? Benoît Gaillard, a socialist councilor in Lausanne, urges you to open your eyes to the phenomenon. He calls for more prevention and repression on the part of the authorities, in particular the city of Lausanne, and will soon submit a second interpellation to the municipal council.

“There is a common point between maraboutage and sectarian deviations, it is the phenomenon of influence. We enter the process to seek benefits, and then we realize that leaving that process will bring drawbacks. We’re starting to tell you, ‘If you leave, you’re going to get in trouble,'” explained the chosen Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

Draw red lines

He believes that the fact that people who are particularly at risk are being targeted requires an official response, especially since the authorities in France and German-speaking Switzerland are increasingly recognizing these practices. “In the midst of this, in western Switzerland, we tend to ignore the question of cults or these practices [de maraboutage] which can go as far as fraud or coercion,” he laments.

As with cults versus traditional religions, the limit is e.g. B. between established psychics or healers and outright scams sometimes difficult to draw. “It’s obviously complicated, but faced with a complicated question you can either give up (…) or try to draw red lines. These are activities where the risk of getting into something criminal is higher than anywhere else. It requires, to qualify and frame these practices differently,” demands Benoît Gaillard.

These are activities where the risk of getting caught up in something criminal is higher than anywhere else. It requires qualifying them and shaping them differently

Benoît Gaillard, socialist councilor in Lausanne

It establishes three priorities: documentation of the phenomenon, prevention in the face of the risk posed by sectarian deviations, and finally monitoring, monitoring and possibly limiting certain practices.

>> Listen to Benoît Gaillard’s interview at 12:30 p.m. of RTS Thursday:

What can political authorities do in the face of maraboutage scams? Interview with Benoit Gaillard / 12:30 p.m. / 3 min. / yesterday at 12:37

Topic and radio interview: Martine Clerc and Yann Amedro

Web adaptation: Vincent Cherpillod

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