Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking

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The Vatican has issued a new document regarding “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking”, with the aim of “understanding, recognizing, preventing, and eradicating the plague of the trafficking of persons, protecting the victims, and promoting the recovery of survivors.”
This booklet expresses the “enormous importance” Pope Francis attaches to the “plight of the millions of men, women, and children who are trafficked and enslaved.”
The purpose of the document is “to provide a reading of Human Trafficking and an understanding that motivate and sustain the much-needed long-term struggle.”
The Pastoral Orientations are the result of extensive consultations with “Church leaders, scholars, and experienced practitioners and partner organizations working in the field.” Download the Pastoral Orientations.

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Orientations pastorales sur la Traite des personnes

La section pour les migrants et les réfugiés du Dicastère pour le développement humain intégral du Vatican a publié des orientations pastorales sur la traite des personnes.
Le Vatican propose des pistes d’action dans la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains.
Le pape François nous invite à participer à la lutte contre ce fléau mondial.

Les Orientations sont destinées aux diocèses et paroisses catholiques, aux congrégations religieuses, aux écoles et universités et à d’autres organismes de la société civile. Les Orientations peuvent être mises en œuvre dans des programmes locaux et par des groupes collaborant à distance. Elles offrent également des points pouvant être utilisés dans des homélies, les programmes d’enseignement et les médias.

Ces Orientations pastorales présentées dans une brochure de 40 pages, visent à fournir une observation de la traite des personnes et une compréhension qui motive et soutient la lutte indispensable à long terme contre le « fléau atroce » que le Saint Père a dénoncé aux Nations Unies en septembre 2015 et en maintes autres occasions. La traite des personnes, un crime grave en soi, implique d’autres atrocités et violations telles que le travail forcé, la servitude involontaire, le recrutement d’enfants soldats, l’exploitation sexuelle y compris la prostitution et le commerce des organes et tissus humains.  
Descendez les Orientations pastorales

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Migration from domestic work from Africa to West Asia

In November 2018 GAATW, The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, started a new Feminist Participatory Action Research project, together with the International Domestic Workers Federation, to document the experiences of women from six African countries who migrate for domestic work to West Asia. Most of the field work took place in January-March and involved several groups of respondents: potential and returnee migrant domestic workers, their families, recruitment agencies and brokers (formal and informal), trade unions and NGOs supporting migrant domestic workers, and government officials. In March the project team met to discuss the progress of the field research, reflect on the research process, and build the national researchers’ capacity in data analysis and report-writing. 

Some highlights from the research process and preliminary findings as shared by the researchers during the data analysis workshop include:

  • A highlight from the research was the fact that this was the first time trade unions in Kenya and Uganda working with domestic workers conducted a research on the topic, particularly involving recruitment agencies and other key stakeholders. The research has so far created opportunities for KUDHEIHA in Kenya and HTS-Union in Uganda to develop partnerships with associations of private recruitment agencies, NGOs and other key stakeholders. 
  • Technology is playing an important role in enhancing African migrant domestic workers’ socialisation, well-being and access to information. For example, some of the Kenyan interviewees were part of a migrant domestic workers’ WhatsApp group that served as a platform to socialise, discuss and share information. In Kenya a websiteproviding information on safe labour migration to the Middle East as well as a safe migration information mobile app were launched in 2019. During the presentation, there was a discussion with the workshop participants about the role of technology in the research process and in enhancing migrant domestic workers’ protection. The Uganda lead researcher, for instance, shared that she used the IMO messaging app to conduct a focus group discussion via video call with Ugandan migrant domestic workers currently residing in Saudi Arabia. In Zanzibar, the lead researcher used WhatsApp to interview three migrant domestic workers in Oman. The Ethiopian lead researcher observed that technology has not caught up in the Ethiopian context as it has in other East African countries.
  • While some of the research countries like Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia have introduced new policy reforms in a bid to enhance migrant workers’ protection, including the accreditation of private recruitment agencies and strengthening the terms of bilateral agreements with West Asian governments, migrant domestic workers in all the countries are still migrating outside the official routes, including to countries in West Asia where their governments have placed migration bans. For example, in Uganda, migrant domestic workers are only allowed to work in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, the two GCC countries which the Ugandan government has signed bi-lateral agreements with. Yet, the research found that there are Ugandan domestic workers working in Oman, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. In Ghana, there is a complete ban on recruitment of Ghanaian citizens as migrant workers in GCC states, which has resulted in corrupt and clandestine labour migration practices including smuggling, trafficking and involvement of government officials in the recruitment of migrant workers.
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Sisters support Nigeria’s migrants traumatized by trafficking

by Patrick Egwu

Published in « Global Sisters Report »

May. 30, 2019

Editor’s note: Global Sisters Report is focusing on the efforts of sisters to end human trafficking as Talitha Kum, the international anti-trafficking network of religious, marks its 10th anniversary and launches its Nuns Healing Hearts campaign. The special series will run periodically through September, when Talitha Kum will hold its first general assembly. Since its founding in 2014, GSR has dedicated a section of its coverage to sisters who in various ways fight human trafficking. Read all of our coverage.

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Sr. Bibiana Emenaha of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul speaks to students in February at a rural school in Edo on the dangers of trafficking. (Courtesy of the Committee for the Support of Dignity of Women)

Gloria Omoresewua was just a teenager in 2003, when a Nigerian woman brought her to Spain and she was forced into prostitution. Omoresewua made an agreement with the woman, who had promised her a better life in Europe: Omoresewua was to pay her 45,000 euros ($50,200) before she could gain her freedom.

For every man she slept with for 30 minutes, Omoresewua earned 20 euros. Every month, she sent 500 to 1,000 euros back home to her family in Nigeria.

After paying about 30,000 euros back to the woman, Omoresewua became tired of prostitution and decided to quit. The woman threatened her that if she did not pay her back fully, she would be arrested.

« I didn’t have a job and was sleeping in the streets, » said Omoresewua, now 33. « I was tired and wanted to come back home. »

« My father said I should come back, but my mother didn’t agree when I told her I wanted to come back. My brothers said I should not come back. I decided to return when an NGO in Spain paid for my flight, » she said.

Since 2017, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) has flown home more than 10,000 Nigerians who could not get to Europe after being in countries like Libya, Mali and Niger. A 2017 report from the organization said of the more than 181,000 migrants who traveled by sea from Libya to Italy in 2016, more than 37,000 were Nigerian, with Nigerian women and unaccompanied children accounting for 11,009 and 3,040 travelers, respectively. Eighty percent of those women and girls are likely to become victims of sexual exploitation, IOM said.

Gloria Omoresewua was trafficked to Spain in 2003 for prostitution. In 2015, she quit and decided to return home. (Patrick Egwu)

National and international networks of support

Since 2015, Sr. Bibiana Emenaha of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul has been the coordinator at the Committee for the Support of Dignity of Women (COSUDOW), where she leads the advocacy and campaigns in fighting human trafficking in Nigeria.

Founded in 1999 by the Nigerian Conference of Women Religious, the committee collaborates with other anti-trafficking organizations like the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and U.N. migration organization. Six local nongovernmental organizations have joined COSUDOW in the fight against trafficking, too.

600-From left SrStella-Agbawa-SrMargaretOgbuja-SrBibiana Emenaha- Dof Ch SVP-COSUDOW's fight against HTin Nigeria-Patrick Egwue

From left: Sr. Stella Agbawa, Sr. Margaret Ogbuja and Sr. Bibiana Emenaha of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The other two sisters assist Emenaha in COSUDOW’s fight against trafficking in Nigeria. (Patrick Egwu)

Every six years, the Nigerian Conference of Women Religious holds elections in which a new congregation of the conference’s 57 member communities is elected to run women’s dignity committee.

With headquarters in Benin City, Edo — an inland state in central southern Nigeria known for high rates of human trafficking — COSUDOW sets up projects and skill-acquisition programs that help reintegrate Nigerians who return home from Libya, Mali and European countries.

In 2007, the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops donated a two-story building to COSUDOW to help resettle returnees. The building serves as the only temporary shelter run by a Catholic organization in Nigeria for returnee migrants.

Emenaha and two other sisters from the congregation — Sr. Margaret Ogbuja and Sr. Stella Agbawa — provide professional counseling to the returnees and visit schools to create awareness on the dangers of trafficking.

« The first thing we do is to give them one week just to sleep and rest. Then after that, we begin to listen to their stories and counsel them — both religious and psychological counseling, » she said. « We provide some form of education because most of them cannot even write their names. And we visit their families through family tracing and reconcile them, especially those that came back when their families did not want them to come back or those that went without letting their family members know. »

U.N. International Organization for Migration and other nonprofits fighting human trafficking like Slave No MoreSolidarity With Women In Distress, Italian Union of Major Superiors and Caritas provide financial assistance to the returnees to start a business after the sisters have trained them. Returnees who opt to go back to school are offered scholarships by congregations like the Daughters of Charity in Turin, Italy. Since the inception of COSUDOW, more than 400 victims of trafficking have been rehabilitated, reintegrated and supported with funds to start their own businesses.

When Omoresewua returned, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul trained her in hairdressing for a year and a half. When she completed her training in 2016, the sisters provided some funds and started a hair salon for her.

« We do prevention, protection, evaluation and monitoring to know how they are coping, » Emenaha said. « During Christmas, we bring them together for a fun time. »

From left: Sr. Stella Agbawa, Sr. Margaret Ogbuja and Sr. Bibiana Emenaha of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The other two sisters assist Emenaha in COSUDOW’s fight against trafficking in Nigeria. (Patrick Egwu)

Sr. Florence Nwaonuma of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus runs Fullness of Life Counseling and Development Initiative, an anti-trafficking organization in Benin City that rehabilitates returnees and provides empowerment programs for them to earn a living.

Nwaonuma’s congregation also runs projects that provide families with business skills and a source of funding to help them set up small businesses, which the sisters say lift the families out of poverty and prevent family members from being trafficked or lured away by economic opportunities abroad.

Nwaonuma and other Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also provide psychosocial support and counseling for the returned migrants as a way of relieving them from the trauma they passed through. When faced with difficult cases, they refer people to a psychiatrist, who provides special services and recommends medication to stabilize them emotionally.

« We monitor their recovery and make sure they are fine before we bring them back, » Nwaonuma said.

‘They can be successful here in Nigeria’

Each year on July 30, World Day against Trafficking in Persons, Sr. Gloria Ozuluoke of the Religious Sisters of Charity organizes awareness campaign programs on human trafficking across Nigeria.

« As a congregation, our mission is service to the poor, and we know that poverty has a huge contribution toward the trafficking of young girls and women outside Nigeria, » Ozuluoke said. « These people are mostly picked from the rural areas. We try to change their mindset that they can be successful here in Nigeria without traveling abroad. »

At a center belonging to their congregation in Lagos in southwest Nigeria, they hold skills-acquisition sessions and training for returnee migrants in skills like catering, tailoring, fashion and designing. Some of the returnees register with the National Business and Technical Examinations Board for practical hands-on business training with experts and to obtain certificates.

Nwaonuma’s Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also work to prevent trafficking through awareness campaigns.

The work of the sisters is making an impact. In 2017, the government passed an anti-trafficking law that punishes traffickers with prison terms and the sale of their properties, with the money going to the federal government.

« Presently, we have about 23 cases in court waiting for prosecution against offenders, » said Nwaonuma, who was part of the committee that worked on the draft of the law.

To make the shelter look new and comfortable to returning Nigerians, the sisters recently invited painters to repaint the building. (Patrick Egwu)

Despite the progress, the sisters face some challenges, especially lack of money for their projects. For the children of the returnees, Emenaha said her congregation is making arrangements to enroll them into schools in September but said the lack of funds might affect the plans.

« We are the only NGO with a shelter in Nigeria, and to run a shelter is not easy, » Emenaha said. « It requires money, and we have to pay the salary of 10 staff working here. »

Likewise, Nwaonuma said, « the economic reintegration for families and victims who returned requires money. In cases we can’t handle, we refer them to specialists who charge us like 50,000 naira [$139], and we pay the bills. It’s not in all cases that we have the money to pay. »

Ozuluoke said the spiritual development of young people in the country is poor.

« They hear a lot of things through the media and group interaction, and they get indoctrinated, » she said. « With this, many of them fall prey to human trafficking. We need to do more in this regard. »

Every week, Omorosewua visits the COSUDOW shelter, where she spends time with other returned victims. For her, traveling to Europe was a bitter experience.

« I still feel the trauma of my experience in Spain. I come here sometimes to talk with other girls like me and advise them against traffickers so they won’t be victims again, » she said.

The two-story building that serves as temporary shelter for returnee migrants before they are reintegrated into society. The building was donated by the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops of Italy in 2007. (Patrick Egwu)

[Patrick Egwu is a freelance journalist based in Nigeria.]


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Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking

The Migration and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for the Service for Integral Human Development has published the document “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking”, with the aim of understanding, recognizing, preventing, and eradicating the plague of the trafficking of persons, protecting the victims, and promoting the recovery of survivors. Read and dowload the document.

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Orientations pastorales sur la traite des personnes

La Section « migrants et réfugiés » du Dicastère pour le service du développement humain intégral a publié le document « Orientations pastorales sur la traite de personnes ». Il est le fruit d’un processus de consultation des Conférences épiscopales, des organisations catholiques et des congrégations religieuses. Il présente  des orientations pastorales pour comprendre, reconnaître, prévenir et vaincre le fléau du trafic de personnes, protéger les victimes et promouvoir la réhabilitation des survivants ». Lire le résumé du document en français.

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Misionera en una residencia de mayores

Estoy feliz y contenta. Rezo, ayudo, y cuando tengo tiempo libre veo algún partido de futbol… y cuando no duermo bien oigo música clásica.

Ayudo en lo que puedo. Visito a los enfermos de la residencia cuando están en el hospital y hago los recados para los que no pueden salir.

Hay personas que se sienten muy solas y necesitan hablar y voy a verlas para charlar con ellas. Estoy atenta a los que están enfermos. Les visito diariamente en la residencia o en el hospital, aún cuando están en cuidados intensivos. Les pregunto como están, si tienen visitas, si comen bien… Vamos, una conversación corriente. Me intereso por ellos. Les animo a comer si no tienen apetito. Si lloran les doy ánimos. Les escucho. Si son creyentes y quieren ver al sacerdote le aviso para que vaya a verles. Cuando muere alguien voy al entierro.

El otro dia una asistenta social me dice: “Laura, tú no sabes el buen papel que haces en el hospital”.

Estoy feliz y contenta. Rezo, ayudo, y cuando tengo tiempo libre veo algún partido de futbol… y cuando no duermo bien oigo música clásica.

Laura Fernández
Alcalá de Henares


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