From 5 to 7 September 2016 at least 146 people coming from 43 countries gathered in Abuja (Nigeria) for the "International Conference on Human Trafficking within and from Africa" co-organised by Caritas Internationalis and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (Hosted by Caritas Nigeria)
Swaziland was one of the 23 African countries represented at this international gathering.
This challenging matter that violates the very essence, the dignity of the human person was addressed through talks (trafficking of children, human trafficking in crisis situations, trafficking in the maritime industry, trafficking for labour exploitation, trafficking for sexual exploitation among others), round tables (networking and collaboration among faith-based organisations) and work groups. Some of the talks can be downloaded from previous posts on this blog.
But it is always the testimony of those who have been victims, the personal stories shared during the conference that made all the difference. It is the moment when one moves from "numbers" to concrete men and women, adults and children.
Though many were listed during the meeting: poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunities for youth and teenagers, corruption, conflicts, demand for cheap labour, the increasing demand sex industry... the common element is the hope of a better life for themselves and their families somewhere else than where they. People then take the risk... even when they are aware of the possible consequences.
P - R - C - A - as guidelines in the way forward
The way Dr Joy Ngozi Ezeilo presented some guidelines (which were also indicated by the rest of the speakers during the conference) could be of help to remember them:
The 5 “Ps”
- Protection of victims of trafficking
- Prosecution of those against whom there is evidence of trafficking
- Punishment of those responsible
- Prevention to stop future acts of trafficking from occurring
- Promotion (of international cooperation and partnership)
- Redress (compensation to victims)
- Rehabilitation of those trafficked, dealing with their practical needs
- Reintegration (possible or not repatriation)
- Capacity to identify victims of trafficking
- Cooperation and coordination between agencies
The "A’s" in the role of the Church
- Assistance to trafficked persons
- Awareness raising and capacity building
- Action towards SDGs implementation to tackle some of the root causes of trafficking and irregular migration
- Alliances-collaborative ecumenical practices