RE: Let's start from the ending.
I went to sleep last night reading about Benin. Colonialism/imperialism/exploitation has long been an interest of mine--I've written about it and taught about it. This story is bigger than the historical record. As is always the case with you, there is a dark essence of human nature explored here. It's not just the cruelty of one group to another. It's our irrational blindness to how we betray our own communities, our own people.
The slave trade in Benin was an abomination by invaders on the people of West Africa. But it couldn't have happened, at least not as successfully, unless Benin itself had participated.
You present questions to us in your stories disturb. Personally, I live with these shadows by distracting myself and by trying to do tiny 'good' things that may make a tiny dent in all the misery. You do not distract yourself. You deal with the horror (I think of Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now). Hard to get up in the morning so acutely aware.
Thanks for writing this story in the Ink Well. I might not have seen it otherwise.