The director of the Melanesian Institute, Jack Urame, says a lack of development is driving the increase in sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea.
The comment was made during last week's conference in the Eastern Highlands, which looked at the rising level of public torture and killings, mostly of women, who have been accused of sorcery.
Mobs of young men without jobs tend to be the perpetrators and it has been suggested that the attacks are an attempt to gain some sort of status.
Reverend Urame says many rural people are cut off from markets and services and lack hope.
"Where there is lack of development people resort to alternatives and normally they go back to their traditional belief systems to find alternatives . People are now changing and living a modern lifestyle in towns and cities, on the other side you see people living tradition - there is no balance. There is no balance."
But Jack Urame says people also need to be educated not to believe in sorcery.